Bee lover, Phacelia tanacetifolia - plants and care

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Bee lover, Phacelia tanacetifolia - plants and care: plants

The light blue to blue violet blooming phacelia, also bee friend, bee pasture, tuft flower or tuft beautiful called, is a versatile plant. It is sown and valued as bee feed, soil improver, feed and pest inhibitor in the garden and in agriculture.
In natural gardens, the Phacelia is particularly popular in combination with perennials, grasses and annual flowers. The most common is the Tansy Phazelie with the botanical name Phacelia tanacetifolia.


The bee lover belongs to the large family of RaublattgewƤchse, of which there are annual and perennial species. The name Phacelia comes from the Greek phakelos for tufts, since the terminal flowers are in clusters. The upright growing, herbaceous Phacelia tanacetifolia is one year old, grows up to 100 cm high and has a root system penetrating deep into the soil. As the name Tansy Phazelie says, the feathery, initially rolled-up leaves resemble the tansy and can cause skin rashes on contact. From June to September the light-blue to blue-violet inflorescences bloom in a tuft-like manner, attracting mainly bees, but also other beneficial insects such as bumblebees, hoverflies and butterflies. The plants are robust and undemanding, but not hardy.
Except in gardens and on fields, the bee-friend grows wild at the edges of roads and roads. The original home of the Phacelia species is the west of North America, especially California and Central America. As a wild plant, it came to Europe over a hundred years ago and, according to its homeland, thrives mainly on dry and poor soils. First known only as an ornamental plant, today the plants find in us in Central Europe a versatile use in horticulture and agriculture.
Similarly attractive and undemanding species as Phacelia tanacetifolia are the following phazelia:
  • Phacelia parryi
  • Phacelia sericea
  • Phacelia calthifolia

Location and ground claims

In sunny locations the bee lover thrives especially well. Otherwise, phazelias are uncomplicated and grow in dry, well drained soil, but also in moist soil. Through their deep root system, they loosen up the soil and make it well-drained. Fertilizing and watering is rarely necessary, only if they are kept in the flowerbed as ornamental plants.



As the name Bee Lover or Bee Willow indicates, the plant is an important source of pollen and nectar and is especially popular with bees. The beekeepers make use of this by selectively sowing phacelia. As high-yield bee bees, they deliver up to 500 kg of honey per hectare per year. Phacelia is also known primarily as a green manure plant for soil improvement. Sown in the autumn after clearing the beds, it grows sufficiently until the winter. Its dense and deep root system loosens the soil and absorbs the nutrients, the leaves shadow the soil and effectively suppress the weeds. From -5Ā° C the plant freezes and rots. This improves the humus content and the soil structure, resulting in a higher crop yield. Especially light soils benefit from it. This makes Phacelia not only popular in gardens, also in agriculture and viticulture this advantage is used. Garden beds, fallow land and wastelands can be upgraded before a first or subsequent planting. Increasingly you can see the bee lover in natural gardens and in pebble beds. Together with perennials, grasses and annuals, the light blue to blue-violet flowers produce attractive combinations and contrasts. Mowed before flowering, the bee lover is an easily digestible feed for pigs and cows. It can be freshly fed or ensiled.

Propagation & Sowing

To culture the bees friend is sown in the garden or on fields. The germination time is about 10 days at 15Ā° C. If it is left to flower, it will wither itself after withering through its seeds in the capsule fruits itself, which is not necessarily desirable in a green manure. In order to avoid uncontrolled sowing, it is mowed before the flower, submerged or left to rot on the soil surface.


The one-year bee-friend Phaceliatanacetifolia is not hardy. It freezes during the first autumn frosts, from -5Ā° C, and then remains as a mulch on the beds until spring. This protects the soil from drying out and in the spring can be sown and planted directly in the mulch. The roots of phacelia rot in the soil and release their accumulated nutrients to the subsequent plants. Therefore, the bee-friend must be neither cut off nor protected against frost.

Pests and diseases

The bee-friend himself is resistant to diseases and pests. However, he can protect other plants from these.Often, diseases occur when you grow the same plant on a bed or field every year. If, however, Phacelia is sown as green manure or catch crop, the crop rotation must not be considered. Phazelias inhibit the occurrence of root rots (nematodes) and cabbage hernia. In maize and potatoes, however, the pathogens of the root rot disease may occur due to the previous cultivation of Phacelia.

Worth knowing about the bee lover shortly

  1. Bee-friend is an undemanding and easy-care flowering plant. It thrives on all soils
  2. With its light blue to blue-violet flowers, it is an attractive ornamental plant in natural gardens.
  3. It serves beekeepers as high quality bee feed.
  4. For green manuring, as a soil conditioner and feed, it is appreciated.
  5. It can inhibit diseases and pests on other plants.


The genus Phacelia belongs to the subfamily of WasserblattgewƤchse in the family RaublattgewƤchse. The plant, which is also known as the Tschschelschƶn, actually comes from California. As the name suggests, the flowers attract bees, but also other insects. Beekeepers use the plants as bee pastures.
  • Phacelia form a dense root system. They grow wild on roads and roadsides, on fields and rubbish dumps.
  • They are undemanding and grow practically everywhere. However, they are not hardy.
  • The soil in the garden should be permeable. The plant is also able to handle heavy soil.
  • It grows particularly well in the sun, but thrives in practically any weather. Only wet and cold weather, the bee lover does not like.
  • Phacelia is often used for green manuring. The dense root system creates many nutrient reserves.
  • After rotting, they are released to the successor fruit.
  • It can easily be incorporated into any crop rotation as it has no related species among crops.
  • Propagation is by sowing. At a temperature of 10 to 15Ā° C, the germination time is 10 to 14 days.
  • In the late summer after harvesting, you can sow Phacelia as a weed suppressant and green manure on individual areas.

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