Anyone who has picked up a copy of the book “California Native Plants for the Garden” (Bornstein, Fross, O’Brien) cannot fail to be enchanted by the delightful photograph of those little purple/blue flowers with the yellow center adorning the cover. That plant is Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium Bellum), a small perennial from the Iris family.
Blue-eyed grass is a small plant that grows to no more than 1′ tall. The small and very pretty flowers appear in spring to early summer. The plant goes dormant after flowering season when the temperature really heats up. During this time the plant can lose all its foliage but do not worry, it will most likely bounce back with winter rain.
Autumn is considered prime planting season for California natives and while it is not absolutely necessary to get all your plants in the ground during this short window, my limited experience has shown Sisyrinchium Bellum to benefit a great deal from a full rainy season before it has to endure the rigors of a socal summer. My third specimen is growing just fine having planted it 3 or so months ago. The two prior were gone within a couple of weeks of planting – one due to overwatering and the other simply wilted in the heat. If planted at the right time and in the right conditions (full sun, fast draining soil, occasional water) this attractive perennial does well in the garden.
|Common Name||Blue-eyed Grass|
|Botanic Name||Sisyrinchium Bellum|
|Light Required||Partial Shade|
|Potential Size ||12 inches x 6 inches|