Shade phacelia (aka Shade Scorpionweed) is a native perennial with a tall upright stem, densely hairy leaves, and exceptionally unique blooms. Starting in late spring, tight fiddleneck coils form and slowly unfurl revealing countless tiny yellowish-white bell-shaped flowers. Though they are not particularly showy by ornamental garden standards, they are highly attractive to butterflies and other insect pollinators - especially bumblebees. Plus it's a nitrogen-fixer!
- Plant type/canopy layer: deciduous perennial herbaceous plant
- Size at maturity: 2’ tall, 2’ wide
- Light requirements: full sun to partial shade
- Moisture requirements: moist to dry soil
- Bloom time: May - July
- Growth rate/ease: moderate growth rate, easy to grow
- Wildlife support: nectar source for butterflies, bees and other insect pollinators; seeds are nutrient-packed food for birds; overall plant is host to caterpillars/larvae of several species of native butterflies and moths including the Orange Tortrix Moth
- Native habitat/range: locally common in moist slopes and openings in mixed evergreen or conifer forests along the west coast from Washington to central California. Portland Plant List - yes.
- Special features & uses: nitrogen-fixer, landscape uses include butterfly and pollinator gardens
Gardening with Shade Phacelia: True to its name, shade phacelia is an excellent choice for areas or your meadowscape or pollinator garden where other plants have struggled, such as the drier and/or shadier areas at the edges of tree or shrub canopy or along buildings. It can get quite tall, especially with the more sun it receives, but manages to hold its form relatively well. Like other phacelia, it will scavenge for and fix nitrogen into the soil so it can also be a strategic choice near vegetable or other food crops.
Seed Packet Contains: approximately 200 seeds. Stratification short - up to 30 days.
Photo Credits 1 & 4: Karli Del Biondo, Beetles and Bees
Photo Credits 2 & 3: Tracy Cozine, Sparrowhawk Native Plants