Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Wishbone Flower, Bluewings
Torenia fournieri

Family: Scrophulariaceae (skrof-yoo-larr-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Torenia (tor-EN-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: fournieri (for-NEER-eye) (Info)

Synonym:Torenia monkey flower

One vendor has this plant for sale.

24 members have or want this plant for trade.

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6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade
Partial to Full Shade


Bloom Color:
Medium Blue

Bloom Time:
Blooms repeatedly


Other details:
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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There are a total of 22 photos.
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24 positives
2 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive coriaceous On May 13, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

There are strains with wine red or pink as well as blue-violet flowers.

A reliable annual, one of the few that will bloom well in moderate shade. Not very drought tolerant.

Positive jeepwran On May 12, 2014, jeepwran from Minneapolis, MN wrote:

Have repeatedly used these as border plants along our front sidewalk. I love them but have not been able to find them anywhere the past several years. Would really like to plant them again, this year.

If anyone knows where/when I can find them in the Minneapolis, MN area, please respond!

Positive duvalderay On Jul 1, 2013, duvalderay from Boise City, ID wrote:

Wishbone Flowers were my favorite plants in my yard when I lived in Norfolk, VA. Despite being an annual, these would apparently reseed and sprout every year. Tons of blooms and it loved being planted in full sun with low to moderate watering. Flowers would continue blooming until first frost.

Positive Virgogardener On Jul 1, 2013, Virgogardener from Lake Grove, NY (Zone 7a) wrote:

I'm a gardener by trade and I use this plant for many of my clients. I use it in part shade to full shade situations and in container gardens. I have noticed they don't care to be smothered by other plants in a container but they thrive when it's just them alone in a pot. In the ground they're spectacular and make a great annual groundcover.

Positive jmorth On Jun 8, 2011, jmorth from Divernon, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

aka as wishbone plant - wishbone visible in bloom.
Good plant for container culture as well as hanging basket. Good in bright shade.

Negative passifloralisa On Aug 21, 2010, passifloralisa from Leander, TX wrote:

I picked up two beautiful Wishbone plants at the Lowes in Cedar Park. They were in full bloom and looked wonderful. The hang tags said they liked moderate moisture and partial sun. I hung them under the eaves on my front porch which gets some sun and watered and misted them daily. For the first few weeks they seemed to do fine and then suddenly started to die. I hadn't done anything differently, but they would start to dry up. I checked the soil with a moisture meter and in different spots the readings were different. I replanted in larger planters made from heavy moss and added some Soil Moist. They're dying. I don't know why. They appear to be drying out despite the soil being moist and rich. I love these plants but I'm hesitant to get more. It's been consistently in the high 90's to low 100's here. What went wrong? I mostly grow passiflora but I am aware of the needs of all plants I have and have good success with all of them. Even the picky ones. This one's supposed to be easy. Thanks for any help.

Neutral wildflowertexas On Apr 29, 2010, wildflowertexas from Bedford, TX wrote:

I am concerned.

I had a friend purchase this basket for me yesterday on the 28th. When I picked up the plant it was a little wilted as she had left it in the sun sitting on the entry way. However, she did water the plant.

By this am it had perked up. I moved the plant placing it in a a shady area but that could have gotten some afternoon sun but not alot.

When I got home this evening around 10pm it had wilted completely.

I am confused as to what the needs of this plant is. Everything I read tells of how great this plant is with some wonderful blooms, etc.

Help!!!!!! I did water it once I got home.


Positive jennP On Mar 13, 2010, jennP from Richmond, VA wrote:

I love this plant! I have grown this in pots on my morning sun porch and in an almost completely shade garden on the side of my house. It did beautifully in both locations. I live in an old-growth neighborhood with old trees that tend to introduce diseases and bugs to plants, the plants will be fine one day and suddenly die the next, torenia has managed to withstand all of this while still thriving an looking beautiful.

Positive Cibarius On Aug 12, 2009, Cibarius from (Doug) Murfreesboro, TN wrote:

My first encounter with this plant was when a volunteer sprout appeared in my vegetable garden, probably from a bird that had paused on a garden stake. I almost pulled it up as a weed. But the leaf looked like mint, and I decided to let it grow a while. With such a neat and compact form, I allowed it continue for a few weeks. Then it blossomed and I was captivated by the unusual, small, blue and white flowers. I began contacting universities by email trying to get an identification of it. One Merel Black at the University of Wisconsin herbarium responded with the name: Torenia fournieri. I read that it could be a successful houseplant. So as the growing season came to an end that year, I prepared a larger pot and wrought iron stand and then took the plant up with a full root ball and transplanted it indoors. It promptly died. And I had begun to learn about Torenia's sensitivity to disturbance. Even in starting new plants, it will not normally survive transplanting. You have to start it in a peat pellet and move the entire item to the growing location. It loves hot weather, as long as you keep it from drying out. It is difficult to start when temperatures are cooler as under a grow light in late winter. I have found very acceptable pelleted seed from neseed and swallowtailgardenseeds.

Positive heathermgilbert On Jul 16, 2009, heathermgilbert from Arlington, TX wrote:

Since the seeds of this plant are so teeny tiny, I just bring mine inside until spring.

These plants are great for cut flower arrangements - lasts for weeks because the unopened buds bloom. Also can be rooted in water.

Positive shovelpruner On Sep 8, 2008, shovelpruner from Augusta, GA wrote:

This is my number one 'go-to' container plant for summer --- have used it in one color by itself (two little 4" nursery pots will quickly fill in a moderate sized container) and as an edge/underplanting to boxwoods in urns. Love it in white with a yellow center. Needs partial shade in my 7b/8a zone and requires consistent watering, but other than that, it is a carefree annual for me. Try it - you'll like it.

Positive cpark On Sep 8, 2008, cpark from Raleigh, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:

I had big pots of these on my back deck in Raleigh, NC, (27605) for years. They were in deep shade all day until late afternoon, when they were hit with blistering summer sun. They thrived nevertheless; two rows of pots on the railings plus a hanging basket gave me a magnificent curtain of green and purple to shield me from the neighbors.

Positive texagof78 On Apr 8, 2008, texagof78 from Georgetown, TX wrote:

This plant grows profusely in a pot on my covered patio and is covered with the purple flowers all summer. It gets some morning sun but is mostly in shade all afternoon and evening.
I put it with spearmint, sitting next to my swing so I get the wonderful scent of mint, and they are very happy together.

Positive Froudone On Sep 30, 2007, Froudone from Katy, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Oddly enough, I have been pulling these "weeds" out of my beds, but after 10 weeks of going to work and school, my beds got out of control. When I finally had a chance to pull weeds yesterday, I realized that several of my "weeds" were covered in gorgeous purple and white flowers! I NEVER planted these, so they have to be volunteers. They are growing in a north facing bed (getting full sun) on the side of my house and they are quite healthy. I didn't plant them there and didn't really want them (until yesterday I didn't even know what they were) but I definitely won't pull them out now and will be keeping the seed pods!

Positive victoria4504 On Jun 28, 2007, victoria4504 from Parkville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

I found this plant at a local K-Mart store with no directions on how to grow it. I thought it was so beautiful that I'd take a chance on it. I was lucky. I planted it in a mostly shaded area in good soil under mulch. It's grown beautifully.

I went to a local plant store to look for more, but only found a variety called "Clown Rose." It claims to be Torenia (Wishbone Flower) and looks identical to the blue variety only it is a deep pink color with a white throat and a bright yellow dot. I bought one and I'll have to let you know if it does as well as the blue.

Positive bluespiral On Feb 15, 2007, bluespiral from (Zone 7a) wrote:

This plant has self-sown over winter in the cracks between the flagstones of our patio. Was very surprised to see it, but perhaps such a tender plant did this because the patio is a very toasty microclimate that faces south, is shielded from winter winds, and is buttressed from the hill behind it by stone that moderates temperature swings.

Positive ShelfLife On Jul 8, 2006, ShelfLife from Clearwater, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I've planted this in our sandy soil and in a container with potting soil... whether because of the richer soil or wetter soil, it definitely prefers the container.

In the ground it was a moderate performer -- perfectly lovely, but required a lot of supplemental waterings. In the container, it has really taken off, has grown much larger and requires much less supplemental watering.

In the ground, there was a lot of wilting under the afternoon sun, but In the container, it gets no morning sun and bears the brunt of full afternoon sun without a single complaint.

And it's ALWAYS full of blooms. Possibly my favorite container plant.

Positive cissyb On May 27, 2005, cissyb from Woodbine, GA (Zone 8b) wrote:

LOVE THIS PLANT! Viewed as an annual in SE Georgia but it thrived in the greenhouse this past winter. Plant just one and before you know it they are coming up all over the yard. I have never seen anything like it. Each and every flower has a wishbone looking filament inside, hence the name.

Positive Pyrola5 On May 18, 2005, Pyrola5 from Bradford, PA (Zone 5a) wrote:

I have grown this plant a couple of times. I bought it from a nursery. They are cute little plants and did quite well.

Positive Breezymeadow On May 17, 2005, Breezymeadow from Culpeper, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

These adorable little plants with their unusual little flowers are a wonderful change from Impatiens for a semi-shady location.

I started some from seed indoors one year, & if you plan to ever try it, be forewarned to start them EARLY. Seeds & seedlings are TINY & required time & pampering before reaching a decent planting-out size.

I planted mine out as a border in front of an herb/flower bed in front of my chicken coop run. This area was in full shade during the morning hours, turning to dappled shade in early afternoon, & full sun for just a couple of hours later (3-4-o'clock on). Bedding soil was heavily mixed with composted rabbit manure, & I used a cocoa bean mulch over all. The plants bushed out & bloomed nicely up until the first hard frost.

Positive darylmitchell On May 16, 2005, darylmitchell from Saskatoon, SK (Zone 3a) wrote:

These are nice looking annuals. The first time I tried them, they didn't perform as well as I'd hoped. I planted them in a shady, northern exposure that gets some reflected light from nearby buildings. While impatiens did quite nicely in the same spot, these didn't grow much bigger than 4 inch mounds. They got plenty of moisture, but the climate might have been too cool for them.

I also tried them in a container, where they also looked puny. Frustrated, I pulled them out and planted them in the ground, not caring if they survived. Surprisingly, they thrived and flowered into the fall. I think it was because they were against concrete steps, which absorbed heat and kept the plant warm.

I've since tried the trailing varieties with much greater success.

Positive hanna1 On Jul 9, 2004, hanna1 from Castro Valley, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

so delicate looking, very attractive,

Positive Ky_Darlene On Mar 24, 2004, Ky_Darlene from Harrodsburg, KY wrote:

I had these plants in my flower bed with shrubbery and such. I had never seen them before and I was really happy with them. They were in constant bloom and everyone loved them. They grew well with morning sun evening shade, not a lot of caretaking to them. I am planting them again this year,

Positive htop On Jan 10, 2004, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

San Antonio, Tx.)
I plant these just about every year and they have always been great performers once I learned that in my zone they can tolerant the sun in early spring, but must be in partial shade or full shade in the heat of the summer. They like to be mulched which keeps the soil moist and cool. Due to their small bloom size, they look best in groupings of the same color. Pinch back to promote bushiness and bloom production.

'Summer Wave' torenia can tolorate the sun and heat better than the typical torenia. In addition, they are also hardy to 28 degrees. 'Summer Wave' is a cross between the creeping native species and the typical torenia. It is a fast-grower like the other torenias producing bicolor light and dark blue blooms.

I love these plants with their small delicate blooms and give them a double thumbs up.

Positive Monocromatico On Jun 8, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

I have this plant grown spontaneously in a pot here in Rio de Janeiro. Probably the seed came along with the earth, and the earth must have came from the south, where itīs cold and this plant grows easily. I was surprised when I saw the flower and noticed that this plant just doesnīt grow here... but it bloomed and produced seeds, but they didnīt germinated.

Positive Maudie On Jun 8, 2003, Maudie from Harvest, AL wrote:

For best effect plant these thickly in containers one colour to the pot. Planted in a hanging basket in part shade they are very attractive and easy to grow.

Neutral smiln32 On Aug 30, 2001, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Also known as Bluewings. Good for containers, window boxes, hanging baskets. Erect, bushy annual with toothed leaves and tiny blue-purple blossoms with yellow or white throats that resemble trumpets; blooms from summer to the first frost. Needs rich, very moist, well-drained soil and is ideal for a cool greenhouse; plant in shade in hot regions. Pinch shoots of young plants to encourage bushiness. In frost-free areas, plant year-round


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Auburn, Alabama
Bessemer, Alabama
Jones, Alabama
Russellville, Arkansas
Springdale, Arkansas
Blackhawk-camino Tassajara, California
Castro Valley, California
Long Beach, California
San Francisco, California
Boca Raton, Florida
Brandon, Florida
Clearwater, Florida (2 reports)
Daytona Beach, Florida
Delray Beach, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida
Kissimmee, Florida
Lecanto, Florida
Maitland, Florida
New Port Richey, Florida
Orange Park, Florida
Port Orange, Florida
Valparaiso, Florida
Vero Beach, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Zephyrhills, Florida
Augusta, Georgia
Chatsworth, Georgia
Hawkinsville, Georgia
Savannah, Georgia
Valdosta, Georgia
Waleska, Georgia
Woodbine, Georgia
Divernon, Illinois
Jeffersonville, Indiana
Harrodsburg, Kentucky
Bossier City, Louisiana
Breaux Bridge, Louisiana
Independence, Louisiana
Marrero, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Slidell, Louisiana
Bowie, Maryland
Parkville, Maryland
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Park Rapids, Minnesota
Winona, Minnesota
Long Beach, Mississippi
Mathiston, Mississippi
Franklin, New Hampshire
Browns Mills, New Jersey
Neptune, New Jersey
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Croton On Hudson, New York
Yonkers, New York
Greensboro, North Carolina
Lake Toxaway, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Taylorsville, North Carolina
Orrville, Ohio
Painesville, Ohio
Tipp City, Ohio
Broken Bow, Oklahoma
Bradford, Pennsylvania
East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
Milford, Pennsylvania
Conway, South Carolina
North Augusta, South Carolina
Memphis, Tennessee
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Arlington, Texas
Baytown, Texas
Conroe, Texas
Daingerfield, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Georgetown, Texas
Houston, Texas
Katy, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Santa Fe, Texas
Glen Allen, Virginia
Leesburg, Virginia
Norfolk, Virginia
Petersburg, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia (2 reports)

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