Phacelia

August 8, 2012 · 2 comments

Phacelia (Phacelia tanacetifolia) is native to southwest North America. It typically grows in alluvial fans or areas prone to flash flooding. When mature seed falls from the plant onto the surface of the soil, it remains dormant until seasonal flood waters cover the seed with moist soil.

Once phacelia seeds break dormancy, the plants will grow for about six weeks before blooming, and then they’ll bloom for another six weeks. The flowers are a great nectar source for honey bees both because they often bloom after other major nectar sources and because they offer healthy nectar and pollen diversity.

Phacelia is sometimes planted as a smother crop similar to (but prettier than) buckwheat. The plants grow fast and dense, and they will shade out and kill competing weeds. At the end of the season, it can be tilled in for green manure.

Henry planted a bunch of phacelia near his bee yard at our place, and the bees have been going nuts collecting pollen and nectar off it.

If you’re interested in growing phacelia, you can buy seed from Peaceful Valley.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachael August 8, 2012 at 6:21 pm

I really enjoy your posts. They are beautiful, I always learn something and am given the much needed inspiration for my own endeavors. You live a blessed life, thank you SO much for sharing!

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misti August 9, 2012 at 9:52 am

I love reading about other native plants. I was working my way through Texas natives at one point but am far behind. Hopefuly this fall I can pick it back up again.

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