Gentians are highly prized rock garden perennials grown for their stunning, intense blue flowers which are produced in abundance from late spring through early summer. Native to temperate and arctic regions, they come in small packages of no more than 15cm tall and 50cm in spread but are hard to beat for a vibrant, eye-catching floral display. The form of the blooms varies from broad, upturned trumpet-shaped flowers to short, deeply reflexed flower tubes that resemble petaled stars. Gentians are fairly scarce amongst British gardens but, in our view, for no good reason – so if you’re looking for something different to the norm, they could be the perfect choice. They are well suited to growing in the rock garden, edging paths or borders and raised beds. Gentians like a spot with lots of sun but not too much heat in a moist yet well drained soil. They don’t tend to move well, so plant them where they can remain undisturbed for many years.