Aug 162009

Wahlenbergia communis: This graceful perennial ground cover, native to all Australian mainland states, grows to 40cm high and 30cm wide with suggested planting spacing of 20cm. It has blue green foliage that is tufted at the base of the plant and spreads out as it grows giving a relaxed form. From late spring through to early autumn it produces elegant bright clear blue 5 petalled star shaped flowers that are butterfly attracting providing food for insectivorous birds.

It prefers well drained soils and full sun. Despite its delicate appearance Wahlenbergia is remarkably tough, probably due to a thick main root that allows its top growth to die off in extremes of cold and hot temperatures and reshoot when conditions are more favourable. It has a lifespan of up to 5 years and can be pruned severely in winter.

It forms part of the community of Western Basalt Plains Grasslands that is threatened by the expansion of housing development around Melbourne. The Wurundjerri people ate the flowers fresh.

Wahlenbergia can be mass planted, used in rockeries and cottage gardens or grown in containers. It looks gorgeous contrasting with other grassland plants especially grasses such as Themeda and Austrodanthonia.

There have been various cultivars released of the native Bluebells, combining different flower form with all the other desirable characteristics of this species.
Blue Mist: doubled flower form
Fairy Mist: single pink flowers
Sky Mist: Sky blue single flowers