About Blue Pimpernel: Blue Pimpernel flowers show off with one of the brightest, truest blues in nature. These eye catching plants originally grew wild along the rocky slopes and sand dunes of the Mediterranean coast, even establishing themselves in fissures of seaside cliffs. Linnaeus gave this flower the botanical name "monelli" to honor French horticultural expert Jean Monelle, who introduced this plant to his native land. Because of this flower's habit of closing at dusk and before stormy weather, it has also been called Poor Man's Barometer. The blue blossoms also remain closed in cloudy weather, opening only to the the sun. Blue Pimpernel received the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
Blue Pimpernel Germination: To start the seeds indoors, sow in a flat on the surface of the soil; keep the soil moist and at a temperature of 65-70 degrees F until germination. Germination usually takes place within 20-30 days. When the seedlings grow big enough to handle safely and there is no chance of frost, transplant them 9-12" apart in well drained soil and full sun. To direct sow, plant the seeds on the surface of the soil after the last frost; place 3-4 seeds together in a group, and thin to the strongest seedling.
Growing Blue Pimpernel Seeds: Water if the soil dries out but do not over water, since this can cause root rot and other diseases. Because of its abundant flowers and tidy growth, this plant grows well in containers or hanging baskets, in rock gardens, or as a border; it will continue blooming until frost. To survive the winter, these plants must be brought indoors or kept at a temperature no lower than 45 degrees F. Blue Pimpernel attracts hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees.
Harvesting Blue Pimpernel: Blue Pimpernel can be toxic even in small amounts, and is not recommended for medicinal or culinary use.
Saving Blue Pimpernel Seeds: These plants produce seed for most of the summer, since they bloom from spring to fall. When the flowers fade, seed pods will form. Since the pods split and drop their seeds when completely ripe, the pods should be gathered individually as soon as they begin to dry. Before harvesting, check the pods to make sure the seeds have reached their mature dark brown or black color. Spread the seed pods out to finish drying away from direct sunlight; thresh them to remove the seed. Store the seed in a cool, dry place for 8 years.
Detailed Blue Pimpernel Info: Origin: Western Mediterranean Other Common Names: Flaxleaf Pimpernel, Mediterranean Pimpernel Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Summer-Fall Height: 9-12 inches Spacing: 9-12 inches Light: Full Sun Soil Moisture: Medium USDA Zone: 9a -11 Seeds Per Oz: 40,000 Produces a tidy clump of green foliage carpeted with bright blue 1/2-1" five petaled flowers, with a bright pink center and yellow anthers.