I have the kind that is more common, like in your second and third pic.
Visitors often point to it and ask if I'm growing a weed.
I don't like the floppy flower phase and have staked them but it really ruins the 'effect'.
They take 2 yrs to bloom from seed and if transplanted may not bloom that year either.
The pretty one I purchased ( your alpine pic) but it died after transplant.
So the jury is out. I'm pulling much of it out after growing it for 3 yrs, but it has roots to China and causes a lot of root disturbance to other plants to remove. I think I will next try Roundup on the ones I want to replace with something more attractive. I wish it stood tall and looked less like a weed.
Oh, cheerpeople, don't you hate it when someone thinks one of your plants is a weed?! --esp. when it's one you have been coddling along ? And, when I Do have a weed ( or more!), I remember this quote: "A Weed is only a plant that you haven't found a use for yet!" Todd, I have always loved these blue flowers, but I never see them here in S.TX., only in pictures. I like just about any blue/purple flower, but these are so unique; do you know if they would grow down here, or is it too hot & humid?
No wonder that these didn't grow from seed for me. Also, only 1 nursery here ever gets them.. and they ALWAYS look really scraggly, so I haven't had any luck. Which is a crying shame considering how gorgeous they are!
Petalpants - I would recommend delpheniums (sp?). If I can grow them, ANYONE can grow them! I have more than just a black thumb.. the only thing I seem to be able to grow is daylillies (who can't?) and roses! However, I bought in spring 08 some $0.99 delpheniums at Home Depot and planted them. They were so teeny and pathetic.. and they BLOOMED! like crazy! And, they're already back this year and almost a foot tall! Seriously, I'd go for them. Also, I think they're called "concord spiderwort". Awesome plant.. love humid and tolerates wetfeet! AND is good for cold winters (but you're a zone 9.. *sigh* I wish!!!). My leaves are coming in a dusky purple this year after having a dusty green color last year. If you look in the DG Plantfiles, it's under Concord Spiderwort but my flowers are a lot more darker than these show. I also like Gold & Blue Spiderwort, but that requires almost full shade. Spectacular plant, however!