There are very few plants with the stunning blue of a gentian and in the autumn they take a real pride of place in the alpine bed or even cascading over a container. As the vibrant colours of the herbaceous border fade as we move into the autumn, these fresh blues become very eye-catching.
With the occasional exception, gentianas grow to around 15cm (6") and spread to 45cm (1½ ft) so they do not need trimming back and look perfect flowing between the rocks of an alpine bed.
They are not the easiest of plants to grow, needing very well drained soil but also needing to be kept moist so incorporate plenty of grit and horticultural sand before planting but ensure that they don't dry out whilst in leaf. They should also be grown in acidic conditions - dig in ericaceous compost and use a regular ericaceous feed.
They will die back to ground level in the autumn to re-shoot again in the spring.
Consider planting with autumn flowering heathers and conifers to make a fantastic display of colour and texture.