California Blue Bells Fast Facts

California Blue Bells Fast Facts image by Brother Alfred Brousseau @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
California Blue Bells Fast Facts image by Brother Alfred Brousseau @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database


A western U.S. wildflower, California Bluebells are a popular choice for dry gardens. Deep blue flowers appear between February and June on this non-invasive native species. California Bluebells grow quickly and bloom heavily, but die back after the first frost. The plant can reseed in milder climates if seeds fall on bare ground.

Botanical Name

California Bluebells (Phacelia campanularia) are in the family Hydrophyllaceae. They are also known as Wild Heliotrope and Desert Bells.


California Bluebells grow 8 to 24 inches tall. Bushy in habit, they have heart-shaped leaves with fine white hairs, similar to African violets.


Deep, ink-blue bell-shaped flowers grown on pale green stems. Long, contrasting stamens are a golden color.

Hardiness and Range

Sew bluebell seeds in early spring. The plants are not winter-hardy but tolerate dry conditions, and you can grow them successfully as an annual in zones 3 through 10.


Bluebells grow best in full sun in sandy, very well-drained soil. These plants will not thrive in wet or humid conditions.


Bluebells are best grown in a mass planting to show off the dramatic blue color and contrasting stamens. The plant's smaller size makes it a good choice for borders and containers.


  • Texas A&M
Keywords: California blue bells, bluebells, blue flowers, wildflower, dry conditions

About this Author

Moira Clune is a freelance writer who since 1991 has been writing sales and promotional materials for her own and other small businesses. In addition, she has published articles on VetInfo and various other websites. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Hartwick College.

Photo by: Brother Alfred Brousseau @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database