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 Phacelia seeds at three week intervals from April to June and expect a staggered, much extended bloom period. Phacelia grows to 23cm (9″) 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 1.8 to 2.2kg per acre. Denser planting will control weeds.
Mark talks about Phacelia on YouTube
How to Grow Phacelia
This annual is one of the best of all 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 seeds.
Season & Zone
Exposure: Full sun
No need to start Phacelia indoors. Direct sow every couple of weeks from last frost (end of March on the coast) to mid-June. This will produce a full summer of flowers. 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. Plants may self sow.
Note: Some people have a bad skin reaction to the plants, so wear gloves when pulling out finished plants.
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