Gilia capitata. This native of western North America is found from Alaska to northern Mexico. Globe Gilia is sometimes listed as Blue Thimble Flower or Blue-head Gilia because its ball-shaped inflorescence is composed of fifty to one hundred small blue flowers, each with a bell-shaped, open throat, and delicate anthers that extend slightly beyond the mouth of each. This flower is much loved for its adaptability, growing in full sun to nearly full shade, in a variety of soil types. For best results, we recommend growing it in rich, moist, well drained soil, keeping it damp until it is established. Afterwards, it is quite drought tolerant. Grow this annual to attract bees and butterflies, or just to enjoy its dramatically blue flowers. Height 30-60cm (12-24").
Continue reading below for some tips on how to grow Gilia from seed. Gilia is a lovely annual wildflower that really stands out in mass plantings, and is a heavy nectar producer, so a very good lure for bees and other beneficial insects. It is one of the easiest flowers to grow and its short height make it a nice addition to lawns.
Gilia tricolor and G. capitata
Exposure: Full sun
Gilia is most successful if direct sown outdoors 2-3 weeks before last frost, or in the autumn in mild climates. Alternately, start indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost, and harden seedlings off gradually in a cold frame before transplanting. This is one of those annuals that requires almost no effort: Sprinkle seeds where they are to grow, and most gardeners will have a very high success rate.
Sow seeds 2mm (1/8″) deep. At a temperature of 12-18°C (55-65°F) seeds should germinate in 17 to 21 days.
Transplant after last frost into average, well drained soil. G. tricolor can grow in quite sandy conditions and is drought tolerant, so it’s useful for xeriscaping. Space plants 23-33cm (9-15″) apart. Gilia will probably self sow in the right conditions, but it does not become weedy and is very easy to control.