Phacelia campanularia. California Bluebell is also known as desert bells and desert bluebells. It is a native of the Mojave and Sonoran deserts in California, but it grows very well as an attractive garden annual in nearly any situation. Its bell-shaped flowers are intensely blue and very attractive to wild bees and other pollinators. This plant only grows to about 70cm (28") tall, so it can work in larger containers, but it is happiest in full sun or partial shade in average garden soil. Keep well watered in periods of hot, dry weather, but otherwise simply remove spent flowers to prevent self-sowing.
This easy-to-grow annual is one of the best pollinator attractors of all. Bees simply love the ample, long-lasting, purple flowers. It is often called Phacelia, Purple Tansy, Scorpion flower, or heliotrope. It is easy to plant and grow Phacelia from seed.
Season & Zone
Exposure: Full sun
There is no real need to start Phacelia indoors. Direct sow every couple of weeks from last frost to mid-June. This will produce a summer full of flowers and flowers full of pollinators. Seeds will germinate in 12-30 days.
Sow 5mm (¼”) deep, and space or thin to 10-20cm (4-8″) apart.
Ordinary, well-drained garden soil is what makes Phacelia thrive. It will die back during a long, hot stretch of weather, so it’s ideal for the cooler seasons of spring and fall. Phacelia plants may self sow.
Note: Some people have a bad skin reaction to the plants, so wear gloves when pulling out finished plants.