Phacelia tanacetifolia. Pale, mauve-blue, fragrant flowers unfold like ferns at the top of long leafy stems and attracts bees from miles around. The delicate, lacy foliage bears a resemblance to yarrow. It fits in the vegetable garden as a cover crop or in a garden bed for quirky purple flowers. Direct sow Purple Tansy seeds at three week intervals from April to June and expect a staggered, much extended bloom period. Phacelia grows to 60cm (24") in full sun or part shade. Plant Phacelia any place where pollination has not been sufficient, as it is such a lure for pollinators. It's a good companion plant for any of the Cucurbits - cucumbers, melons, and squashes.
If planting as a cover crop, use 2.2kg per acre. Denser planting will control weeds.
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.