The Five Spot Flower (Nemophila Maculata)
The Five Spot flower is also known as the Nemophila maculata. This little gem is a wildflower that will grow like crazy after the rains in an area that gets at least a little dappled shade. If you want a low growing flower for under native oaks or near a shaded rocky outcropping, this one is a charmer. The purple spots on each petal give it its name and as the flower ages, it forms an intricate pattern of purple stripes and dots on inside of the white petals. Although this is only an annual, if it is happy it will re-seed each year forming a whole colony of color.
The plant is native to California and needs no special care in similar climates. It will grow between 6″ and 10″ in height and will extend its blooming season a little with some light watering. If you can find them as plants, they should be planted in the winter or early spring in warm-winter climates. They will also grow fine elsewhere as annuals in the spring and summer. You can plant seed heavily at the end of autumn or in the winter in warmer winter areas, and early spring in cooler environments. Even if it gets baking hot, the flowers will bloom on and off throughout the spring and summer.
These plants are related to another Nemophila, “Baby Blue Eyes”. The latter is often seen growing wild in shady places if you take hillside walks in Southern California. “Baby Blue Eyes” have slightly smaller china blue open cup shaped flowers and have the same cultural needs as the Five Spots.
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