About Blue-Eyed Mary: This bright little flower can only be found growing wild in the mountains and valleys west of the Cascade Mountains, as well as along the mighty Columbia River. It tends to spring up in dry prairies, rocky areas, or at the borders of woodland areas. The genus name, Collinsia, honors Philadelphia botanist Zaccheus Collins (1764-1831). One fan of this flower, American author and amateur botanist Gene Stratton Porter, wrote an entire poem dedicated to the beauties of the “sweet, laughing, blue-eyed-mary” that “lifts the loveliest face I’ve seen.”
Blue-Eyed Mary Germination: Direct sow on the surface of the soil in late fall, pressing the soil down firmly for good seed-to-soil contact. This seed can also be sown in early spring, though germination may be slow and irregular. Thin or transplant seedlings to 10-12” apart. This plant adapts well to rocky or coarse soil.
Growing Blue-Eyed Mary Seeds: Water seedlings regularly until they become established, keeping weeds down to a minimum to avoid competition. Mature plants also appreciate occasional watering; though they can survive short dry periods, they do not tolerate drought well. This plant grows best in moderate climates and does not do well with excessive heat.
Harvesting Blue-Eyed Mary: This delicate wildflower is best displayed in the garden or prairie, and does not make a suitable cut flower.
Saving Blue-Eyed Mary Seeds: After flowering, the plant will produce tiny seed pods with ripe reddish brown seed. Watch the pods closely, since they will soon split and drop their seeds. Though the pods can be gathered individually as they ripen, an easier method is to pull the entire plant when the majority of the seed pods have ripened; hang it upside down in a protected area where the seeds can safely fall. When the plant has dried completely, thresh the pods that have not split open to remove the rest of the seed. Store the cleaned seed in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Blue-Eyed Mary Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Giant Blue-eyed Mary, Large-flowered Collinsia, Blue Lips, Blue-lips, Blue-eyed Mary Duration: Annual Bloom Time: Spring-Early Summer Height: 12-18 inches Spacing: 10-12 inches Light: Part Shade Soil Moisture: Medium USDA Zone: 3a-8b Seeds Per Oz: 23,500 Produces whorls of narrow, pointed leaves with circular clusters of ½-¾” five petaled purple flowers, having two upper petals and three lower petals coming from a short, curved tube.