There are lots of ways to inject your SoCal garden with patriotic symbolism, from planting native species to choosing plants with symbolic significance, like George Washington’s cherry tree. But if you really want to go all-out and create a blossoming celebration of Americana, assembling plants with red, white and blue tones gets the job done with style.
Hydrangea: The Tri-Color Workhorse
Hydrangeas are a classic choice for gardeners who want to produce bright blue blooms, and if you want to add a perennial touch of red, white and blue, these beautiful bushes are a great way to go.
Some hydrangeas produce pure white flowers, and others produce reddish-pink or purple-blue blooms. You can adjust the color of a hydrangea by changing the soil’s pH; acidic soils produce blue, and alkaline produce red. Plant all three colors in a row for a stunning summer display that reappears year after year.
Red is a fairly common color for foliage and flowers, but timing is key. If you want your Southern California garden all decked out in time for July 4, these plants are a good choice:
Acer palmatum ‘Dissectum Atropurpureum’ (Japanese maple) – A small ornamental tree that boasts bright-red leaves all through spring and summer
Cyrtanthus sanguineus ‘Fire Lily’ – a drought-tolerant summer-flowering plant native to South Africa; produces red, star-shaped blossoms
Your options for white in your garden are more plentiful than you may realize. These selections burst with this color during your most patriotic summer celebrations:
White roses such as Whirlaway, Iceberg and Lullaby. Roses grow well in most parts of Southern California, so don’t shy away from adding them to your garden.
White dahlias such as Lady Liberty, I Do and Snowflake. Dahlias are another classic summer flower that do stupendously in coastal areas of SoCal.
Blue can be a bit of a difficult color to bring out in a garden. Most natural blue tones are more blue-violet than true blue, but you can still get creative. Luckily, some of the truest-blue plants around grow beautifully in Southern California, including some that have blueish foliage rather than flowers. Look into these bonnie blues to complete your patriotic palette:
Blue cornflower (aka bachelor button), a small wildflower with charming round, feathery blossoms
Blue delphiniums such as Blue Fountain, Summer Skies and Blue Bird – A beautiful ornamental plant that produces tall flower spike