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The Gilia genus contains mostly desert-loving plants, native to the area stretching from the western United States to South America. Spanish botanists Hipolito Ruiz and Jose Antonio Pavon found the first known Gilia species on their expedition to South America, later detailing it among other species in a 1794 publication of their research from Peru and Chile. They gave this family of flowers the name Gilia in honor of Filippo Luigi Gilii (1756-1821), an Italian naturalist whom they greatly admired for his research in South American native plant life at the Vatican Observatory.
Sowing: Direct sow in late fall, planting just below the surface. For spring planting, mix the seed with moist sand and store it in the refrigerator for 30 days; direct sow. To start indoors, sow seeds in a flat or individual peat pots 6-8 weeks before the last frost; keep the soil lightly moist and at a temperature of 70 degrees F until germination, which usually occurs within two weeks. When the weather has warmed and the seedlings are well established, transplant outdoors.
Growing: Keep the soil moist as the seedlings develop, which will happen rather slowly at first. Mature plants tolerate drought well, preferring hot and dry conditions; do not overwater, since this can cause disease. This plant adapts well to areas with rocky or sandy soil. It will self-sow, and is extremely attractive to butterflies and bees.
Harvesting: For fresh flowers, cut long stems of flowers that have just opened and place them in water immediately; strip the leaves that will fall below the water.
Seed Saving: After blooming, the flowers will become dry capsules that open to reveal several brown seeds; cut the ripened heads or simply shake the entire plant over a container to remove the seeds. Store the cleaned seed in a cool, dry place.
Common Names: Bird’s Eyes Gilia
Latin Name: Gilia tricolor
Species Origin: US Native Wildflower
Type: Native Wildflowers
Life Cycle: Annual
USDA Zones: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
US Regions: California, Mountain, Arid/Desert, Plains/Texas, Midwest, Northern, Northeast, Southeast
Seeds per Ounce: 65,000
Stratification: No Stratification
Germination Ease: No Stratification
Sunlight: Full Sun
Height: 16 Inches
Color: White, Pink
Bloom Season: Blooms Late Spring, Blooms Early Summer
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