Native to thin, dry, sandy soils of central Europe, North Africa, and western Asia, this biennial or annual is a member of the bellflower family, Campanulaceae, that also includes balloon flower, ladybells and Lobelia. The plants grow up to 12″ tall and have a stout root and several stems that branch near the base. Lanceolate leaves are 1/2-1″ long, stiffly hairy, and form a rosette. Throughout most of the summer, dense, 1″ wide, round umbels of starry violet-blue flowers appear subtended by involucral bracts. The individual florets open successively from the outside and are attractive to butterflies, bees and other pollinators. Sheepbit is easily grown from seed and does well in thin, acid, rocky or sandy soil in full sun and is often found on sea-cliffs and in maritime grasslands. It is a good choice for rock and maritime gardens and the flowers are good in the vase. The genus name, Jasione, is of uncertain origin. The specific epithet, montana, comes from the Latin word mons, meaning mountain. 

Type: Biennial, occasionally annual

Bloom: Dense umbels of violet blue flowers throughout the summer

Size: 12″ H

Light: Full sun

Soil: Lean, sandy, dry, well-drained, acidic

Hardiness: Zones 5-8

Care: Low maintenance

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Seed

Companion Plants: Thrift, kidney vetch

Outstanding Selections: None available

Photo Credit: Darkone Wikipedia

By Karen