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Matthew Wright
Matthew Wright

Blue Curls

Caterpillars or blue curls is a leafy annual or biennial which grows 1-3 ft. tall. Its purple to lavender-blue, bell-shaped flowers, deeply lobed at the rim, have conspicuously protruding stamens. The flowers are numerous, in slender, coiled clusters which uncurl as the buds develop. Leaves are soft and deeply cut, appearing ragged-looking. The plant is usually found in large colonies.

blue curls

The long, curled stamens characterize this dainty little plant. The southern Perennial Bluecurls (T. suffrutescens), has tiny oblong leaves and may not be a distinct species. False Pennyroyal (T. brachiatum) has short stamens not protruding from the flowers. It ranges from Quebec to Georgia, west to Texas, and north to Minnesota.

It seems there is another blue wildflower that likes to be noticed other than our beautiful Texas Bluebonnet. Blue Curls (Phacelia congesta), also called Fiddlenecks and Caterpillars is predominately an understory plant.

Just like the name suggests it has a beautiful blue color that is quite spectacular in big colonies. The buds are curled up radiating out from a center point. They look like the tentacles of an octopus or a curled up caterpillar. As the tiny bell shaped flowers open the curled stems gently unroll. The flowers have 5 tiny petals which are deeply lobed and have protruding stamens tipped with a yellow ball that are quite noticeable.

Itis native on sites that range from serpentine clay to gravel with rainfall from 14-45". Some companion plants are Artemisia californica, Eriogonum fasciculatum, Penstemon centranthifolius, Nassella cernua, Quercus douglasii (between), and Quercus agrifolia(just outside drip line). One of the most unusually beautiful combinations is groupings of Artemisia californica interspersed withindividuals of Trichostema lanatum, between trees of Quercus douglasii.This shimmering blue of the blue curl flowers, with the silvery gray foliage of the Artemisia, against background of the muted blue of the Quercus douglasii,is like nothing I have ever seen.

The flowers and foliage sell it easily. The flowers are royalblue, fuzzy, 12" clusters and excellent for cut flowers. Both theflower and foliage has a sweet fragrance like freshly cut cedar with abouquet of lavender.

It may sound more like a species of sheep than a plant, but this evergreen shrub gets its name from the fuzzy "wool" that covers its blue or purple flower spike. Native to California chaparral and costal sage scrub, its range extends along western slopes from Monterey County to northern Baja California, Mexico. It is adapted for surviving drought and regenerating after fire. Both flowers and foliage have a sweet, fresh fragrance that some people describe as a combination of cedar and lavender. Hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies visit the flowers.

A many-branched shrub, woolly blue curls forms a rounded crown about 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall and wide. Needlelike leaves are narrow and pointed, and they typically have clusters of smaller leaves in the axils. Foot-long (30.5 centimeter) spikes at the tips of branches bear clusters of fuzzy blue or purple flowers with long, curved stamens and pistils.

This plant, germinating in early summer, resembles a garden petunia before axillary branching occurs. Forked blue-curls, reaching a height of 2 feet or more, have slightly square stems and branches. Opposite branches and leaves are densely covered with short downy hairs (pubescent) and are slightly sticky. Plants, other than flowers, are an overall light green color. Their preferred habitat is well-drained soils of open woods, glades, prairies, and disturbed sites, often on sandy substrates.

Flowers, opening in early morning, drop petals and stamens by mid-day. Flowers, on short pedicels, are to inch long and half as wide, with five petals. The lower petal is tongue-like and cupped while four upper petals are shorter, broadly rounded, and slightly pointed. Upper petals are a uniform blue while the lower petal often has white shading with prominent dark spots, or occasionally the lower petal may be the same color as the other petals. Four stamens, similarly colored as the petals, exsert (extend) dramatically from the corolla in a long curling group. The pistil, with forked stigma and the same color as the stamens, is hidden within the stamen group.

In a garden setting, forked blue curls would be an interesting plant that is worth considering for an informal setting. However, plants are late to appear in the growing season and flowers only bloom for a half-day. Additionally, being an annual, plants can come up in various places in the garden from year to year. Seedlings may also be prolific in a garden setting and may need thinning each year.

Another species of the genus is found in Arkansas, namely, false pennyroyal or fluxweed (Trichostema brachiatum), but it is restricted primarily to the Interior Highlands. Overall plant structure of this annual is similar to forked blue-curls, but false pennyroyal has five blue petals of the same shape and size, calyx lobes of the same size, and shorter stamens that are not exserted.

Woolly Blue Curls blooms from March to August. The color of the flowers ranges from deep purple, through blues and pinks to off-white. Look at the blooms close-up and you will see the variation in coloring in the different flower parts.

Wooly Blue Curls is an evergreen, perennial sub-shrub, growing 3-5 ft. (1-1.5 m.) tall and 4-6 ft. wide. The plants resemble the Mediterranean herb Rosemary. In fact, some common names for this plant are Romero (Spanish or Italian name for Rosemary), California rosemary and American wild rosemary. Hummingbirds and bumblebees feast on the pollen. Hummingbirds are the primarily pollinators of this plant. The stamens extend out far from the flower and land on the back of the hummingbird when weight is placed on the lower lips of the corolla. . The shiny, aromatic, narrow green leaves are a pleasant sight when many other plants have turned brown. This plant is aromatic - try it yourself and rub the leaves. It is truly a pleasant one; a bit of pine, a hint of lavender, a fresh sweet scent that is unique to Wooly bluecurls. Like many other aromatic plants, Wooly Blue Curls have a long history of culinary and medicinal use.

The color blue is synonymous with feelings of melancholy, loneliness, and cold. Nature seems to disagree, and blue takes on a new, cheery light in the presence of green, yellow, and orange hues of the garden.

To keep it at its blue best, make sure to plant it in well-drained, sandy soil in full sun. Blue curls will keep on blooming from late spring through late fall, and will easily reseed. This gives you the flexibility to thin them out to achieve the desired look or you can let them do their thing and have an explosion of blue throughout the landscape.

Plant blue curls in the landscape and we promise you will be feeling anything but blue! Enjoy the long lasting color, biodiversity, and low maintenance offered for months as you choose blue to go green.

Woolly blue curls is a much sought after evergreen shrub with pungent, dark green, narrow leaves and spectacular flower spikes. Grows 3-4 foot tall and wide and blooms over a long period. Blue-purple to pink flowers, covered in purple hairs with protruding, long, curving stamens are a sight to behold. Native to coastal scrub and chaparral communities from Monterey county to northern Baja. Requires full sun, good drainage and is drought tolerant once established. Avoid regular irrigation, fertilizer and organic mulches. Pollinated by hummingbirds and visited by bumblebees and butterflies. Deer resistant.

Trichostema lanatum, the woolly bluecurls,[1] is a small evergreen shrub or sub-shrub native to arid coastal chaparral regions of California and the northern parts of Baja California.

Trichostema lanatum is many-branched and grows to 1.5 m (5 ft) tall, with narrow, pointed green leaves. The smooth-petaled blue flowers are borne in dense clusters, with the stem and calyces covered in woolly hairs of blue, pink, or white. Flowers are present from March to June.[2]

Echeveria 'Blue Curls' is a succulent plant with a usually solitary rosette of powdery blue-green wavy leaves that take on a pink hue in spring and fall. The rosette grows up to 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter. The leaves become wavier as they age. Flowers are reddish-pink, well-spaced along with long stalks, and appear in summer.

Echeveria 'Blue Curls': A blue, wavy rosette with a pink outer whorl of leaves. This particular plant grows large and just gets wavier as it matures. The leaves are covered in a powdery substance called farina, which gives the leaves a soft pastel look. The more mature leaves flush pink while the young leaves stay blue, creating a nice gradient of the two colors.

Echeveria 'Blue Curls' is a lovely hybrid with ruffled aqua blue leaves arranged in a rosette to 12" in diameter. Leaves are ruffled with pink crinkly edges, especially in strong light. 'Blue Curls' is presumed to be a gibbiflora hybrid attributed to possibly either Harry Butterfield or Frank Reinelt. This plant is slow to develop a stem but benefits from being beheaded and re-rooted every 3 to 4 years. Excellent in dish gardens, or patio plantings. Echeverias are moderately fast growing plants that are easy to grow. In habitat, many Echeverias grow on rocky outcroppings at higher altitudes. In this habitat, the water drains quickly away from the roots of the plant, never allowing the plant to remain waterlogged. For this reason, it is essential in cultivation to use a very porous soil, which will allow quick drainage. Bright light is required to prevent "stretching" of Echeverias ("stretching" occurs when a moderately fast growing plant such as an Echeveria, is grown in dim light or over-fertilized, which causes overly lush growth that contributes to weak, pallid plants). Water thoroughly when the soil is dry to the touch. Protect from frost. 041b061a72


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