Great while it lasted... Ipomopsis macrosiphon

Submitted by Lori S. on

The alternate title for this thread is "Damned Biennials"... a recurring theme in my gardening experience.
I was absolutely smitten (or was I smote?) by Ipomopsis macrosiphon, the former Gilia aggregata var. macrosiphon. What a flower machine! The plants bloomed heavily throughout their second year but unfortunately, I lost it - no seedlings the next year. How wonderful it must be to see this one... or the other gilias.... in the wild!


Submitted by Kelaidis on Wed, 04/21/2010 - 07:52

What a spectacular plant! I've never grown this one...I suspect pollination may be the problem with that long pollen tube. It may have a very specific pollinator. I find that Gilia rubra is the only Gilia that sets heavy seed for me and keeps repopulating. I have quite a few self sowing biennials, actually (big yard), but establishing new ones is always a trick.

Submitted by Lori S. on Mon, 11/19/2012 - 19:33

It sure looks like something that might attract and be pollinated by hummingbirds but I can't say I saw any visit it.  That said, we only seem to get the odd one zipping through the yard in spring and fall on its way to somewhere else. 
It's ironic that what usually happens is one of us spots a hummer in the yard, and we get all excited and rush to set up a hummingbird feeder... and never get another glimpse of it.  :P

Submitted by Weiser on Tue, 11/20/2012 - 14:27

Lori I agree


What a flower machine!

Hummingbirds are frequent visitors to pink and red Ipomopsis aggregata flowers. I have also seen Hawk Moths (Sphingidae) sipping from them. Their feeding behaviour is very much like that of a Hummingbird. I feel many of the long tubed Ipomopsis species also depend on these Hawk Moths as primary pollinators to. I'm not sure if flower color plays a significant role as to which pollinator visits more often. It is known that intense sweet evening sents are more inviting to moth pollinators.
I've never smelled Ipomopsis flowers in the evening I may have to try it next season.  

Submitted by Lori S. on Tue, 11/20/2012 - 19:02

I see that your Ipomopsis aggregata bloomed very late, David, and it's interesting that you got it to bloom in the same year from seed. 

When I grew Ipomopsis rubra recently, it wintered over but then took until the last couple of weeks of October to start blooming.
It was pretty clear why that one didn't reseed... way too late to be blooming in this area, whether there were pollinators around or not!  ;D

Submitted by Weiser on Tue, 11/20/2012 - 19:42

When I grew I. rubra in North Dakota it had to be sighted on the south side of the house were it got winter warmth, summer heat and full sun. It came back every year and bloomed starting in August. That was in a USDA zone 4 climate. I hope this helps.
In Reno it is very reliable.

Submitted by cohan on Wed, 11/21/2012 - 11:39

Good tips, John! I've looked at some of these on Alplains list (forget which) I'll have to keep those heat requirements in mind, reduces my planting sites