About Chinese Houses: This stunning flower grows wild throughout much of western North America, most often springing up in open woodland areas or pine forests. The genus name, Collinsia, honors Philadelphia botanist Zaccheus Collins (1764-1831). This species was first classified in 1835 as Collinsia bicolor by Englishman George Bentham, one of the 19th century’s foremost botanical experts. Chinese Houses supply nectar for many butterflies, as well as being a larval host for the Checkerspot butterfly.
Chinese Houses Germination: Direct sow on the surface of the soil in late fall, pressing the soil down firmly for good seed-to-soil contact. Take care not to cover the seed, since it needs light for germination. This seed can also be direct sown in early spring, and kept moist until germination. Thin or transplant seedlings to 12-15” apart. This plant adapts well to rocky or coarse soil.
Growing Chinese Houses 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. For the best display of blooms, remove wilted flowers. This plant grows best in moderate climates and does not do well with excessive heat. If allowed to self-seed, it will reproduce itself and establish a colony. This plant attracts bees and butterflies.
Harvesting Chinese Houses: For long lasting fresh flowers, cut the stems long and place them in water immediately.
Saving Chinese Houses Seeds: After flowering, the plant will produce tiny seed pods with ripe 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 Chinese Houses Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Purple Chinese Houses, Innocence Duration: Annual Bloom Time: Spring-Early Summer Height: 18-24 inches Spacing: 12-15 inches Light: Full Sun to Part Shade Soil Moisture: Medium USDA Zone: 3a-9b Seeds Per Oz: 21,000 Produces a plant with narrow, pointed leaves and circular tiers of ½-¾” flowers with two white upper petals and two fuschia lower petals coming from a short, curved tube.