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‘Appalachian Blues’ Skullcap Is Like a Salvia for the Shade

Virtues: ‘Appalachian Blues’, a hybrid skullcap (Scutellaria), has been described as a “salvia for the shade,” thanks to its tall spikes of prominent, bee-friendly, purple-blue flowers. 

'Appalachian Blues' skullcap blooms from late spring into summer.

'Appalachian Blues' skullcap blooms from late spring into summer.

Common name: 'Appalachian Blues' skullcap

Botanical name: Scutellaria ‘Appalachian Blues’

Exposure: Prefers shade; will grow in sun with ample moisture

Flowers: Spikes of small, salvia-like, purple-blue flowers appear in late spring, beginning a bloom that lasts for several weeks. They feed bumblebees and other pollinators.

Foliage: Broad, minty green and toothed. The leaves are evergreen in mild climates. 

Habit: Herbaceous, clumping perennial growing two feet tall (in flower) and slightly wider. Does not spread.

Origin: West Virginia-based breeder Peter Heus selected this perennial as a seedling of a naturally occurring hybrid between two Scutellaria species native to the US Mid-Atlantic and South: S. ovata and S. serrata. It was introduced to the market by Plants Nouveau in 2022.

How to grow it: Provide part or full shade and dry, average soil. It will also grow in full sun, but may require more water to flourish there. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage more blooms. Cut foliage back in late winter to make way for fresh growth. If it loses vigor after several years, dig and divide the plant in spring or early autumn. USDA Zones 4–8.

Image courtesy of Plants Nouveau