UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA

Water Wise Plants

Trichostema lanatum

try-CO-stem-uh la-NAY-tum
Common Name
Woolly Blue Curls
Plant Type
Mature Size
3-4 ft. high & wide
Water Requirements
None: avoid summer water
Sun/Shade Requirements
Full sun
Flower Color
Violet to blue
  • Hummingbirds
Maintenance- Design- Planting Tips

We approached growing the California native woolly blue curls with some trepidation because it has a reputation for being difficult. It is sensitive to overwatering and poor draining soil and often is short lived. But it has beautiful flowers! The foliage smells like bubble gum when rubbed, which is also a neat feature of this plant year round.

Several years ago we added a woolly blue curls to our California native plant bed. The plant was mulched with rock to improve drainage and received no additional summer water. Our woolly blue curls has bloomed and grown over the years, but it really wants a sunnier spot. The plant is reaching out for more light and has woody, unattractive stems.

We’ve avoided cutting the plant back hard, because we have read it does not get new growth on old wood. Some sources suggest planting woolly blue curls as an annual; if you love the flowers that might be an option for you. In all honesty, if your heart is not set on a California native, there are probably easier low water plants with lavender flowers. Lavender and Mexican sage are two lavender flowered plants we think are safer choices for the novice gardener.

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