Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Central South Wildflowers in my Garden

Purple Phacelia (Phacelia bipinnatifida) Scorpion Weed

This sweet lavender-blue flowered biennial is one of my favorites. The divided and toothed leaves have a mottled purple coloring. It has an open and loose branching that gives it a delicate appearance. The flowers are small but numerous and bloom from the bottom up. It blooms April through May and reseeds quite nicely. Don't worry it isn't a thug. Since, it's a shallow rooted plant, you can easily move the seedlings.

I think it looks lovely by it self, but it is more effective when planted in drifts across the woodland garden. It looked especially nice on a hillside in a friend's garden. She gardens on a steep slope and each spring there are lovely drifts of lavender blue.

If you want it to be at home in your garden plant it in a low, moist spot. Fluffing up the soil with some good compost will help. Being a biennial expect Phacelia to take 2 years to become fully established.

My Garden: It's happy in two spots; in the shade of a witch hazel and in a small wildflower garden. The soil is thin and rocky but there is enough moisture to keep it happy and I occasionally water them. I have tried to get it to grow in other parts of the garden, but seedlings didn't survive transplanting and broadcast seeds failed to sprout. Moisture is a definite must have for this wildflower. The middle photo is a second year plant and will flower this spring, it has a much more pronounced purple mottled color than the photo of Phacelia I took at the Ashland City Greenway (last photo).

Duration: Biennial
Bloom time: April through May
Flower Color: Lavender blue
Height: 1 to 2 feet
Soil: rich, moist woodlands
Exposure: Shade
Origin: Native to US

I think this is an under used native wildflower that can give your woodland an extra bit of color. So give it a try.

Thanks for stopping by,


  1. i LOVE this wildflower! where did you get it from? i have never seen it. i do have a small woodland garden that is beginning to take off. i think this would fit in well. good information and pics!

  2. Tina,

    From Native Gardens Greenback TN...

    Glad you like it and want it in your garden.


  3. I love this plant also and think it might find a home here and will check out that site you listed for Tina. I have never seen this plant before, keep up the good work, teaching us something new with each post! Thanks.

    Frances at Faire Garden

  4. Frances,

    I am glad that I have something to say...and that people like you actually stop by. Thank you.


  5. thanks! i'll check it out! not a thug you say?

  6. Tina,

    Not a thug at all...if it's happy it will reseed but you can move them around or throw them in the compost bin. The seedling rather quickly look like the parent plant with their ferny leaves once the cotyledons disappear. You can pluck them out, no problem.

    A thug in my mind is a plant that roots deeply and wants to stay permanently like vincas, or honeysuckle or so many others...but having to remove seedlings might make this a thug for some:-)



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