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Gardening in the Rainy Zone.
Phacelia viscida 'Tropical Surf'
STICKY PHACELIA, TACKY PHACELIA, TACKY SCORPIONWEED, CALIFORNIA BLUEBELL
Pronounced: fa-SEEL-ee-a VIS-id-a
Height: 6-12 inches (15-30 cm).
Width: 9-12 inches (23-30 cm).
Spring to early summer. Succession sow to prolong bloom period.
Spikes hold the deep true-blue, 1-inch flowers, with white to purplish mottled throats and 5 protruding stamens holding pure white anthers.
Coarse, alternate, basal, toothed, ovate to ovate-orbicular leaves.
Light, well-drained soil.
Add a complete organic fertilizer when planting.
Sow seeds inside and germinate at 65-85°F (18-29°C)
Rainy Side Notes
The beautiful waterleaf family, Hydrophyllaceae, has given us the bluest flowers with the Phacelias. Easy to grow from seed, this annual hybrid carries the blues brilliantly. Topping the stamens, the snow-white anthers stand out against the deep blue petals. It will self-sow; it pays to watch for it so you don't mistakenly weed it out. The species P. viscida, which likes wide-open spaces, is a tough little tap rooted native, endemic to California from Monterrey to San Diego.
This plant grows well in containers and in the ground as long as the soil is well-drained.
Phacelia comes from the Greek word Phakelos, which means cluster, an attribute of the spikes thickly covered in flowers. Viscida means sticky.
The hairs on this annual can cause dermatitis on sensitive skin, so handle it with gloves.
Photographed in author's garden.