How to Care for California Blue Bells


Technically known as Phacelia campanularia, California Desert Bluebells are annuals that grow best in zones 7 to 24, as defined by the Sunset National Garden Book, and, depending on the microclimate, may do well in the drier areas of zones 29, 30, 33 and 35. The plants flower in spring and produce a 1 inch long, deep blue, bell-shaped bloom. Plants should be spaced 3 to 6 inches apart and may grow to be 6 to18 inches tall.

Planting and Care

Step 1

Prepare ground by spreading slow-release fertilizer, like Scott's Osmoform, mulch over planting area and mix with a rake.

Step 2

Plant California Bluebell seeds in the ground during fall or early spring. Seeds should be placed just below the soil's surface. Seeds may be started in pots, and transplant seedlings when they are very small.

Step 3

Plant seeds in an area that gets full sun and has good drainage with soil pH between 6 and 8.

Step 4

Water immediately after planting, then every 2 to 3 days until the seeds germinate. After germination, water sparingly, about once a week.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not overwater these drought-tolerant plants.

Things You'll Need

  • California Desert Bluebell seeds
  • Slow-release fertilizer
  • Mulch
  • Water
  • Rake
  • Spade
  • Gardening gloves


  • Sunset; National Garden Book; 1997
  • Arizona Gardner's Guide: California Desert Bluebells
  • California Desert Bluebell Care and Photos
Keywords: Desert flowers, California desert bluebells, Low maintenance flowers

About this Author

J.D. Chi is a professional journalist who has covered sports for more than 20 years at newspapers all over the United States. She has covered major golf tournaments and the NFL as well as travel and health topics. Chi received her Bachelor of Arts in professional writing from Carnegie Mellon University and is working toward a master's degree in journalism.