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Close-up of Blue Globe Gilia flower with honey bee with purple pollen sacs.  Gilia capitata. Seed offering from Sparrowhawk Native Plants in Portland, Oregon.
Blue Globe Gilia with butterfly (Gilia capitata). Oregon Native Seed offering from Sparrowhawk Native Plants in Portland, Oregon.

Blue Gilia

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Gilia capitata

Blue Gilia is an annual wildflower that grows easily from seed and is hands-down one of the most attractive plants for bumblebees, other native bees, and European honeybees. It's quite tall, reaching up to three feet and forming dense, spherical, blueish-purple flower heads. As bees collect the blue pollen, their pollen sacs will turn an amazing deep blue/purple color. 

  • Plant type/canopy layer: deciduous, annual, herbaceous plant
  • Size at maturity: 24”-36” tall, 6” wide 
  • Light requirements: full sun to part shade
  • Moisture requirements: dry to moist soil
  • Bloom time: May - September
  • Growth rate/ease: easy to grow, fast growing
  • Wildlife support: attracts and provides nectar to adult butterflies, bees and other insect pollinators, attracts and supports beneficial and other pest eating insects, caterpillar host plant and larval food source for moths and butterflies, attracts and supports hummingbirds
  • Native habitat/range: Common in open, sandy or rocky soils along grassy hillsides, meadows and forest edges and openings below 7000 ft. in much of western Oregon, California and Washington. Portland Plant List - Yes. 
  • Special features & uses: meadowscapes, pollinator gardens, rock gardens, hummingbird and pollinator favorite, bouquets and cut floral arrangements

Gardening with Blue Gilia: Sow seed following the instructions below, in relatively open, sunny areas of your yard. Pollinators are most attracted to large swaths (i.e. more than 6’x6’) of the same color because most native bees, unlike European honey bees, practice floral fidelity, which means they only forage from one species of plant at a time. Consider contrasting Gilia with other pollinator faves like California Poppies or Showy Fleabane for a meadowscape that is truly impressive to insects and gardeners alike.

Seed Packets Contain: approx 425 seeds

Seed Sowing instructions: Can be fall or spring sown. Cooler temps may enhance germination so if spring sowing, plant as soon as possible. Fall sown seed may germinate in the fall and overwinter as small seedlings…which is fine.

Stratification: little to none

Planting depth: surface - do not cover

Seeding rate:

  • Broadcasting: approx 60 seeds/sq ft.
  • Small pots: a small “pinch” per pot
  • Spots in situ: a small “pinch” per spot


Photo Credits: Tracy Cozine, Sparrowhawk Native Plants