Purple Tansy, Fiddleneck

Phacelia tanacetifolia

Family: Boraginaceae
Genus: Phacelia (fa-SEE-lee-uh) (Info)
Species: tanacetifolia (tan-uh-kee-tee-FOH-lee-uh) (Info)



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade



Bloom Color:



Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer


Grown for foliage


Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


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


Seward, Alaska

Phoenix, Arizona

Huntington, Arkansas

Menifee, California

Merced, California

Mountain View, California

San Pedro, California

Walnut Creek, California

Keystone Heights, Florida

Barbourville, Kentucky

Cumberland, Maryland

Pepperell, Massachusetts

Aurora, Missouri

Omaha, Nebraska

Portland, Oregon

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

North Augusta, South Carolina

Richmond, Texas

South Boston, Virginia

Grand Mound, Washington

Kalama, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 21, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

The usual common name is "lacy phacelia." "Tansy" is an unrelated plant (Tanacetum vulgare), with gold flowers, that's widely considered invasive. They both have similarly shaped, deeply cut leaves.

Extensively grown in Europe as a cover crop, green mulch, and bee forage. Many cultivars have been developed there, not available in the US.

Makes an excellent, long-lasting cut flower. Blooms profusely for 6-8 weeks.

Native to western N. America. Grows 1-3' tall.


On Jul 21, 2016, eihcnerf from Wisconsin Rapids, WI wrote:

This is the 3rd year I'm growing Tansy in the Central Sands of Wisconsin. PH 6.5. Very cold zone 4. My bees love it and will even leave buckwheat, which they adore if there is purple tansy ready. I have someone drill the seed for me. In richer areas of my soil it grows larger and makes bigger seed heads. Some of it is watered, some not but it does well everywhere. Although it dies when it freezes hard here, there are always a few seeds that come back the next spring, like around the fertilized trees in the orchard.
I'd like to save the seed, but bagging each seed pod is not attractive. Can I harvest it a little sooner, like when the last flower is done on a plant, then dry it? It makes a beautiful flower that I love en masse in the field.


On Apr 12, 2015, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Rating neutral as new in my garden. I did not plant it--it just showed up Spring 2015. It sure is pretty and delicate. I will keep it to see what it does...


On Jul 31, 2013, lenering from Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

I planted Phacelia Tanacetifolia by my raised bed. My intention was to attract as much bees as possible. It did not work. The plants are there, beautiful and tall; however, there are not bees, or butterflies. Anybody knows what's going on?


On Feb 27, 2013, ClimbTheMtns from Walnut Creek, CA wrote:

This is an Olympian Self-Seeder.

I agree with the other posts about how hover flies, bees, bumble bees LOVE this plant - especially the hover flies and native bees!!
I'm in Zone 9 with Winter frosts and this Phacelia survives just fine. It hardly grows through the Winter, but it doesn't die off with the frost or even a small freeze. Of course, we have been having much milder Winters over the last few years.


On Jul 13, 2009, lehua_mc from Portland, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

The Fernleaf Fiddleneck, as called by Seeds of Change, loves full hot sun and goes completely flat in rain (or overhead watering), be warned. Installing soaker hoses has helped immensely, allowing it to bloom repeatedly and not be overwhelmed by the heat or the mauling affects of water. Once it is flat, it resents man handling, as it seems to be quite brittle and more apt to break than bend. The foliage is worth having, however, especially in a composition with a bolder leaf form. If you want to attract bees, have some of this around, it is busy 24/7. I got a second self seeded batch in late summer, in the direction of where my plants flopped. Also, it is a bit prickly, not something you want to grab. Last update is that the little guys that grew from the late summer seed batch died in th... read more


On Mar 20, 2008, matricesp from San Pedro, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

is growing well in pot i bought it in and still blooming


On Feb 1, 2006, philomel from Castelnau RB Pyrenes,
France (Zone 8a) wrote:

The flowers are very attractive to hover flies and other beneficial insects, however this plant is also excellent when used as a green manure.. To use in this manner the plants are turned into the soil before they reach the flowering stage, adding goodness and humus.


On Nov 1, 2002, Evert from Helsinki,
Finland (Zone 4b) wrote:

Very easy to grow, blooms for a long time and makes lots of seeds... :)


On Aug 31, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

A U.S. native, P. tanacetifolium is grown as an annual in colder climates. Give good drainage and full sun. Self-seeds readily; deadhead to prevent unwanted seedlings.