Blue-gray leaves, blue flowers, and blue berries make Coolvista flax lily a winner.

Steve Bender

Life is like a box of new plants, I always say. You never know what you're gonna get. Some will die, some will horrify, and some will elicit your happy dance. Well, here's a recent addition to our Southern Living Plant Collection that has Grumpy cutting a rug. It's called Coolvista flax lily (Dianella revoluta ‘Allyn Citation') and you need to try it.

First, let me state that it's not a grass, though it looks like one, nor is it a lily. It's a tough perennial native to Australia. It combines blue-gray evergreen foliage with sprays of small blue flowers in spring followed by small royal-blue berries. Thin, spear-shaped leaves stand upright – great for using as a vertical accent – and form a clump that grows 1 to 2 feet tall and wide. It takes heat, drought, and salt air. I haven't seen a bug on mine.

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I planted it in both my front yard display garden and beside a path in my back yard woodland garden. From this, I know it thrives in both full sun and light shade. In the front, I've combined it with another member of our Southern Living Plant Collection, ‘Everillo' carex (Carex oshimensis EverColor ‘Everillo'). The bright yellow, arching leaves of ‘Everillo' complement the blue-gray, vertical foliage of Coolvista perfectly. Coolvista is also looks great in a container, especially when employed as the "thriller" element. Or plant it in sweeps or mixed into a perennial garden.

Coolvista flax lily is cold-hardy to about 10 degrees. Look for it this spring at home and garden centers.

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