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What is Baby Blue-Eyes?

Patti Kate
Patti Kate

Baby blue-eyes is the common name for an annual wildflower that is native to California and grown throughout the United States. Known for its bright blue flowering color, it is typically found in grasslands and wooded areas. The center of the flower typically shows a small white circle or "eye." This flower does well when it has some shade and will bloom during the summer months. It does require adequate water, however, to maintain full bloom and health.

This plant does not grow very tall, rarely reaching heights of more than 10 inches (25 centimeters). Other common names for the baby blue-eyes are five spot and California blue bells. The unique shape of the flowers tends to take on the look of a bell, or shape of a cup. The foliage of this plant tends to look like a fern, with a growth of hair on the stems.

Woman with a flower
Woman with a flower

The scientific name for the baby blue-eyes plant is nemophila menziesii. This free-growing wildflower is commonly seen along fields and valleys in the western states. Some people refer to them as California poppies. This genus of plant thrives in moderate temperatures. Those who plan on growing any type of nemophilia should take note that this species needs to be protected from extremely hot temperatures. Providing several hours of daily shade is recommended.

Many gardeners prefer the baby blue-eyes for rock gardens and flower beds along the edges of pathways. For enthusiasts who wish to grow these poppies, sowing them around late March is a good idea. It's wise to wait until the last frost, however. Gardeners should also note that this genus of plant does not generally do well in extremely humid climates.

Before beginning to grow these annuals, the soil should be in optimum condition. It is a good idea to treat the soil with some type of fertilizer. It is also best to prepare the soil with some type of organic matter or compost as well.

When sowing the seeds, it is recommended to protect the seeds and growing seedlings from predators. In this case, predators would include many types of birds. This is because many bird species are attracted to the seeds and will readily devour them given the opportunity. A netting or mulch will generally work well to keep birds at bay.

Once the plant begins to grow and has sprouted to a young seedling, it is best to avoid over-watering. Maintaining proper drainage is a necessity as well. It is not recommended to re-plant or transplant baby blue-eyes seedlings, as they generally will not thrive under such conditions.

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Discussion Comments


The baby blue-eyes wildflowers that I see on the hillsides every spring probably come up on their own every year. I live in California, and I am just used to seeing these blanket the area when I am out and about.

One year my sister was visiting when they were in bloom and she just kept commenting on how beautiful they were. I have never planted these in my own yard, but always look forward to spring when they are in bloom.

It sounds like they would be pretty easy to grow, and I have seen them in both sunny and shady spots.


@LisaLou-- I enjoy planting baby blue-eyes seed every year. I think once or twice I have had a few of them come up volunteer, but I usually have to plant them every year.

I like to gather the seeds every year from the flowers I have, so I am never out any more money for them. One year I planted these with some yellow daffodils and it was a beautiful spring display.

The light blue was a perfect complement to the yellow daffodils and gave me a lift every time I saw them. This is one of the flowers that it is hard to go wrong with and I look forward to growing them every year.


I know that this flower is an annual, but has anybody ever had baby blue-eyes wildflower that came back on its own year after year?

I have several annual flowers that return most every year, such as petunias and snapdragons. It sounds like baby blue-eyes might be one that does that also. It is always such a nice surprise when a flower that is supposed to be planted every year comes back on its own like a perennial does.


I like carefree looking flowers that are easy to care for, and baby blue-eyes flowers are just that. These are really easy to sow from seed, and grow quickly.

I like to sow the seed in the fall, and make sure to cover it with a fine layer of mulch. One year I didn't do this and I think the birds ate most of the seed.

The next year, I made sure to lightly cover the seed. In the spring I had a wonderful showing of baby blue-eyes. This is one of those wildflowers that looks great by itself or paired with other annuals and perennials.

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      Woman with a flower