For northern gardeners, the spring garden relies heavily on flowering shrubs, bulbs and shade perennials. So it’s a joy to find an early blooming, sun-loving perennial. Centaurea montana ‘Amethyst Dream’ (Mountain Bluet or Perennial Bachelor’s Button) begins blooming at the same time as Allium ‘Globemaster’ and shares the allium’s striking amethyst color; but while the ‘Globemaster’ is comprised of a tight ball of starry florets, Centaurea ‘Amethyst Dream’ has an open, lacy appearance that perfectly offsets the allium’s roundness.
Centaurea ‘Amethyst Dream’ is hardy in Zones 3-9, is not fussy about soil, and is drought tolerant once established. The plant has silvery gray lanceolate leaves, 2 1/2″ (6 cm) wide flowers, and grows to 20″ (51 cm) high by 24″ (61 cm) wide. The plant spreads by stolons but can be divided every 2-3 years, after blooming, if it starts to exceed desired boundaries. Cut back spent flowers after bloom. Centaurea requires no fertilizer and is essentially pest free.