Growing Tips: California Blue Bells

Quick Reference:

Annual, a plant that completes it’s life cycle in one season. Germinates: 12 to 20 days. Seed needs darkness for germination; cover seed with 1/8 inch fine soil spaced 1 to 2 inches apart. Cover container with black plastic until seedlings emerge. Ideal plant spacing in the garden is 9 to 12 inches. Plant height: 10 to 16 inches.

When and where to plant:

California Blue Bells will bloom by mid summer in most areas of Alaska when the seed is planted directly in the garden and can be planted as soon as the soil can be prepared and has warmed in the spring. This flower prefers to be planted where it will grow all summer, it must be transplanted with care when seedlings are small. Choose a location that has full sun all day, a good well drained sandy loam soil, plants do not grow well in heavy or wet soil. Cultivate soil, enrich with plant food, broadcast seed over the planting area, cover seed with fine soil, seed must have darkness to germinate, compact soil over seed and water to give good seed-soil contact. Keep soil moist, not wet, until seedlings emerge. For earlier bloom, seed may be started indoors 3-4 weeks before last frost in individual plastic pots. Plant several seeds in each pot, grow in a sunny, cool location and after the last frost transplant outdoors when seedlings are small being careful not disturb the roots.

Care:

Pinch the tips of the young plants to encourage bushiness and increased bloom. Plants require little care. Do not over water, water only as needed, the plants will tolerate dry conditions.