Green leaves are the norm. Yellow, orange, red or purple leaves can be interesting or just plain weird. But blue—blue leaves make me go weak at the knees.
A bluish cast is the result of either a waxy coating or irregular microscopic projections from the epidermal cells that reflect sunlight. It’s easy to tell what it is. Simply touch a leaf, and if the bluish color goes away, it was wax.
These mechanisms protect the plant either from water loss or from sun damage. Desert-adapted plants are more likely to have bluish leaves than tropical plants growing in environments where water is abundant. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
So without further ado, here are some of the plants with glaucous foliage in my garden. Coincidentally, all of them are succulents.
Agave pygmae ‘Dragon Toes’
Agave attenuata ‘Boutin Blue’
Echeveria secunda and Kalanchoe marnieriana
Yucca baccata var. vespertina ‘Hualampai Blue’, a Cistus Nursery introduction
Agave colorata (from Ruth Bancroft Garden)
Another Agave colorata (from UC Botanical Garden)
Agave macroacantha (from UC Botanical Garden)
Agave parrasana (from UC Botanical Garden)
Agave parrasana (from Ruth Bancroft Garden)
Agave colorata x bovicornuta (from Greg Starr)
Agave ovatifolia ‘Frosty Blue’, a Cistus Nursery introduction
LEFT: Senecio talinoides subsp. cylindricus RIGHT: Dioon edule ‘Palma Sola’
Senecio talinoides subsp. cylindricus, Dioon edule ‘Palma Sola’, Agave ovatifolia ‘Frosty Blue’, Hesperoyucca whipplei
Mexican tulip poppy (Hunnemannia fumariifolia), Agave ‘Sun Glow’
Agave ovatifolia ‘Vanzie’
Agave mitis ‘Nova’ (with Farfugium japonicum ‘Argenteum’ on left)
Agave mitis ‘Nova’, Echeveria cante
Echeveria cante, one of my favorite echeveria species
Echeveria ‘Lady Aquarius’
I think blue rocks, even in the fall when red think it’s king!