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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Redding, CA
    Posts
    38

    Default Phacelia Tanacetifolia

    I would like to know if anyone on this forum has planted an acre or more of Phacelia Tanacetifolia as a bee crop. I am interested in planting about 2 acres for my hives. I would appreciate it if you could share your experience and let me know what worked and what did not.
    I live in Northern California and wonder when it would be the best time to plant it.

    Thank you,

    LCL
    In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Corvallis, OR
    Posts
    223

    Default Re: Phacelia Tanacetifolia

    I too have considered planting large patches (only about 1/8 acre in my case) of Phacelia. A local honey connoisseur warned me that it would impart a dominant flavor in the honey - not necessarily unpleasant but definitely noticeable. So until I find some Phacelia honey and decide if I like it, I'm going to hold out on planting.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Coopersville, Michigan
    Posts
    260

    Default Re: Phacelia Tanacetifolia

    I tried to plant half an acre, as a wildflower mix (mostly Phacelia with a little bit of other stuff thrown in). It was a complete bust because I didn't prep the ground well enough, it was easily choked out by the competition as it grew slow here. I'm not sure what you could use as a nurse crop for it, but I put 10lbs on half an acre (of just Phacelia) you would think I would have gotten a better result, oh well. In any case Wildseed farms has the best price I found on it. It came up first, but it didn't help it at all.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Posts
    707

    Default Re: Phacelia Tanacetifolia

    This Phacelia is a "sweet" soil plant, meaning that it needs alkaline soils to grow well. A post in another thread by Summer1052 said "Last year, I planted a wildflower mix that included purple tansy. It was covered with bees. And, it survived the worst drought in Texas' recorded history, and bloomed for almost 3 months without water, and in our ungodly hot summer!

    This year, I bought three pounds of tansy seed and planted it in early January. (It would need to be planted in the late fall in climes north of mine.) It is already coming up strongly, but no blooms yet. It has strong taproots, and does a great job breaking up the soil, as I understand it."

    As she says, you need to get it planted early, as it needs cool weather and short daylenghts to get established, then it will flower heavily for quite some time.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Redding, CA
    Posts
    38

    Default Re: Phacelia Tanacetifolia

    Thank you for your posts. I ordered the seeds today and will give you an update in a few months to let you know how things went...
    In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Bon Aqua, Tn USA
    Posts
    330

    Default Re: Phacelia Tanacetifolia

    Here is what I found on one site about it:

    About Lacy Phacelia (Phacelia tanacetifolia) It is an annual
    Height: Up to 3 ft.
    Flower Color: Light blue to purple
    Plant Type: Annual. Lives just one year. Grows quickly, blooms heavily, dies with first frost. Can regrow following spring if seed falls on bare ground.
    Flower Type: Spike of clustered tiny flowers
    Bloom Time: Mid season
    Is this wildflower invasive? In some re
    Is this wildflower endangered? No
    Is this wildflower edible? No
    Is this wildflower medicinal? No

    What is Lacy Phacelia's native range?
    Indigenous To: Southwestern US
    Where Lacy Phacelia is naturalized or can be grown
    Regions: Native to desert areas, but can be grown successfully in all regions.
    Zones: 3-10
    States:
    How to grow Lacy Phacelia (Phacelia tanacetifolia)
    Soil preference: Like all desert species, prefers gritty, fast-draining conditions.
    Sun/Shade: Needs full sun.
    Moisture Requirements: Adaptable to even arid conditions.
    Instructions: This desert species is very easy to grow, some would say too easy. It is lovely in a meadow, but can sometimes become "weedy", so use it sparingly. Give it desert-like hot conditions.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Lavaca county, Texas
    Posts
    497

    Default Re: Phacelia Tanacetifolia

    It's also called purple tansy. I planted a great deal of it an an acre wildflower plot last year. The bees LOVED it, and it bloomed for three solid months in the midst of the hottest/driest year in TX history.

    I've planted more for this year.

    Good luck!
    Summer

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Lakeland, FL USA
    Posts
    808

    Default Re: Phacelia Tanacetifolia

    I planted a long row of lacy phacelia in my garden.....lol......after hearing some of you say you planted acres of it, I feel rather lacking.

    I also planted sunflowers, borage, zinnias and bright lights (cosmos). This is all amongst my food crops. It's all coming up great. I even had to stratify the borage in the fridge for about a month.

    A few weeks ago, the honeybees were all over the tangerine blooms in my yard.

    So yes, even subdivisions can be bee-friendly. We're trying !!!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Marlow, Oklahoma
    Posts
    62

    Default Re: Phacelia Tanacetifolia

    Summer and lcl, did you plant Phacelia this past spring? How did it turn out?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,379

    Default Re: Phacelia Tanacetifolia

    Back in the early 1960's I lived in a rural location in Los Alamos, California. It was a large property, about 100 acres. It had been developed into a mobile home park, but initially was a walnut orchard. The walnuts were still there, adjacent to mobile homes. One year, the landlord decided to plant Phacelia tanacetifolia around the perimeter of the property and between the walnut trees. I estimate it covered between 40 and 50 acres, perhaps more. Once the Winter rains arrived, it sprouted and grew rapidly. Once it was in bloom it had intense interest for honey bees and other nectar loving insects. I spent lots of time watching this activity, but I was 8 or 9 years old, and had some beekeeping equipment, but wouldn't get my first bees until I was 10.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 08-29-2012 at 07:42 AM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Redding, CA
    Posts
    38

    Default Re: Phacelia Tanacetifolia

    I am sorry to report that my Phacelia experiment was a total failure...

    Several factor came into play.
    1) I missed the planting window by a couple of days and then had to wait more than a month for the rain to stop and the soil to be ready for planting.
    2) The person that did the planting had some rudimentary equipment and I do not believe the seeds were planted at the optimal sowing depth of 1/16".
    3) Less than a quarter of the seeds sprouted and just before they were ready to bloom, something (deer?!) eat the buds...

    The plan for the next year is to plant early, fence that patch of land and hire a professional to do the sowing.

    If anyone is interested, I bought the seeds from Wild Seeds Farm: http://shop.wildseedfarms.com/Purple...ductinfo/3334/

    lcl
    In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,379

    Default Re: Phacelia Tanacetifolia

    This fiddleneck desert wildflower is also a good one for honey bee forage, and a native in the arid Southwestern U.S.A.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

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