So: you’ve decided to use Corten steel in your garden design. Great choice! As well as its vivid, textural finish, this amazing architectural metal will last for many years to come. But what plants should you fill your Corten planters with? Which flowers will look most impressive bobbing away behind your new garden edging? Of course, all manner of flowers and foliage look good with Corten, and ultimately it’s up to you which colour scheme you settle for. But here’s our top tip: Corten steel looks incredible with blue flowers. Why? Because orange, the colour of weathered Corten, is opposite blue on the colour wheel. This means that orange and blue are contrasting colours that complement each other perfectly. Scroll through this collection of beautiful blue blooms that can be grown in the UK and will make your Corten steel garden products pop…
Blues and blue-violets are opposite oranges and reds on the colour wheel, making them the perfect contrast for a Corten steel garden design.
Lavender is a classic country garden plant, loved for its distinctive scent as much as its pretty looks. It’s a magnet for bees, who flock to its flowers for both nectar and pollen. Here it dazzles against terracotta pots and rich, wooden gates, both in similar shades to Corten steel.
Cornflowers are an easy-to-grow cobalt-coloured wildflower. Here, the cut flowers are shown in a vintage-style, galvanised steel jug. Experts often advise growing cornflowers next to orange marigolds to show off the striking blue hue – just imagine how bright they look next to weathered Corten.
Bold and lofty agapanthus make a real statement in any garden. These perennial plants have bursts of small flowers forming one sphere of lavender blue. Here, they’re shown next to our Corten steel garden panels, which also happen to come in an agapanthus design.
Enjoy sprays of tiny wildflowers in an unforgettably vivid blue with Forget-Me-Nots. These small but vibrant flowers look beautiful in window boxes or borders, and will tolerate light or shade – just make sure their soil is well-drained. They self seed, so expect to see more popping up to surprise you in years to come.
5. Sea Holly
Looking for a dramatic, sculptural addition to your flower beds? Sea holly is a safe bet. This breathtaking plant boasts fascinating, thistle-style flowers on tall stems, and is deep blue in colour. Plant them at the back of a border lined with Corten steel garden edging for a high-impact display.
6. Blue Grass
Ornamental grasses are a great way to fill space and give ground cover in raised beds and borders. Blue fescue is a brilliant choice for a Corten steel garden thanks to its unique, smoky blue-grey tones. It’s evergreen, too (or should that be everblue?)
Huge, blousy hydrangea flowers are a firm favourite in British gardens. These hardy shrubs come in tonnes of colours, with those enormous blooms available in green, pink, purple, white and more. But there’s something about the intensity of the blue varieties in particular that is especially stunning.
Lobelia is a trailing bedding plant that’s made for spilling over the edges of hanging baskets, window boxes and planters. The delicate flowers can also come in shades of white and pink, but the almost-electric blue ones with their tiny white centres look the prettiest with Corten.
Less well-known than lobelia but no less vivid is lithodora, a mat-forming evergreen shrub with notably blue flowers. In spring and early summer, the dark green foliage is brought to life by a constellation of dreamy, sky-blue blooms. This one looks gorgeous in patio containers and rock gardens.
10. Grape Hyacinth
Looking for a bright blue burst of colour early in the year? Once planted, grape hyacinths will pop up in spring time and time again. Their cute clusters of bead-like flowers come in an irresistible deep blue shade. Here it is shown glowing against red brick, which is similar in colour to Corten steel.
Tall, proud and a magnet for butterflies, delphiniums are a dazzling addition to any garden. Planted together, they can create a dense wall of rich colour. These stunning flowers come in a broad spectrum of blues, from baby blue right through to the deepest, darkest indigo.
Another tall flower that’s a stalwart of the English country garden is the lupin. With towering spires of small, pea-shaped flowers, it comes in a host of colours. And here’s an example of just how breathtaking the blue varieties look when they’re planted next to Corten steel.