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Phacelia bipinnatifida

fernleaf phacelia add to wishlist

Plant types and subtypes: Perennials, Biennials

Light Requirements: part-shade, shade

Water Use: medium

Soil Moisture: dry, moist

Soil Description: acid, neutral, rich, average, loam

Height: 1'-2'

Bloom Time: April, May, June

Bloom Color: purple, lavender, blue

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 5, 6, 7, 8

Additional Tags: attracts bees, colonizing, deer resistant, naturalizing, ornamental foliage, shade garden plant, woodland plant

Phacelia bipinnatifida (fernleaf phacelia)
  • Phacelia bipinnatifida (fernleaf phacelia)
  • Phacelia bipinnatifida (fernleaf phacelia)
  • Phacelia bipinnatifida (fernleaf phacelia)
  • Phacelia bipinnatifida (fernleaf phacelia)

Pricing & Availability


Phacelia bipinnatifida

Also known as:

fernleaf phacelia


purple phacelia


forest phacelia

Scientific Synonyms:

Phacelia brevistyla, Phacelia bipinnatifida var. plummeri


Phacelia bipinnatifida is an underutilized and rarely sold biennial wildflower that is worthy of more consideration. During its first year, it produces a semi-evergreen basal rosette, and re-emerges the following spring to develop into 1'-2' tall plants that bloom profusely. Each individual flower is about 1/2" to 1" in diameter, and can vary in color from pale lavender hues to deep purple or violet. The blooming period occurs from mid to late spring, and can last for well over a month. The foliage is quite attractive, with bluntly-toothed leaflets that give it somewhat of a fern-like appearance, as indicated by the common name.


Fernleaf phacelia is very easy to grow and adaptable. It prefers the filtered light provided by deciduous trees and shrubs, and the moist, rich soil typical of open woodlands. However, it can handle with ease dry summer conditions in full shade, as well as part-sun in areas that are consistently moist. As with all annuals and biennials, it reproduces readily from seed. I would avoid calling the species aggressive, because unwanted plants are easily controlled, but rather opportunistic and an effective filler plant that will establish itself in bare spots where it is not subjected to the competition of more robust perennials. Many gardeners shy away from biennials because they require some patience, and the plants die after blooming. However, because some seeds won't germinate until the second year after they're set, one can expect a continuous rotation of flowering plants every spring by the third year. For a striking spring color contrast, try combining it with Stylophorum diphyllum. When grown under sunnier conditions, its first year basal rosettes can also create an effective green mulch under fall bloomers such as asters and goldenrods. Zones 5-8


Easily propagated by sowing freshly collected seeds. First year plants can be transplanted in the fall up until the soil begins to freeze.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:


Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Asteridae
Order Solanales
Family Hydrophyllaceae Waterleaf family
Genus Phacelia phacelia
Species Phacelia bipinnatifida fernleaf phacelia