18 February 2015

Desert Bluebells - Phacelia campanularia

My friend, Ronn Smith sent some seeds from his planting of Phacelia campanularia last summer. This winter I planted them in the garden shed. Today, here's how the seedlings looked - tiny!
Smith lives in Phoenix and these beauties are drought tolerant and perennial in zones 7 through 10.

It is a California desert native, can grow in  sunny, tight spaces, and enjoys taking the spotlight at the front border of a flower bed in the spring. When selecting the right place for them, remember that they thrive on the dry slopes in their native Southern CA.

The entire plant is under a foot tall but has bright blue flowers with yellow stamens for a month.

Photo: Ronn Smith
They want gritty soil that drains well. Although they are annual plants they can reappear from seeds dropped after the first frost.

They are part of the Boraginaceae family and if you love Borage but can't grow it, this is your plant. I love Borage but it is too hot and humid here in zone 7 NE OK. It blooms and then dies within a few weeks.

The flowers attract bees and butterflies so plant them where it's OK to have buzzing. At Sarah Raven's wonderful site, she says it was the number on favorite plant of Vita Sackville-West.

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