PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Blue Eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium bellum)

We just noticed that this sweet and easy PNW native is up and looking cheerful here at the end of February, in the middle of an arctic cold snap. Actually, it has looked nice all winter. We are fortunate here in the Puget Sound area that our climate is mild enough to allow this Iris relative to remain evergreen. Mostly.

Blue Eyed Grass does go dormant but it’s in the summer. It doesn’t like hot weather so it hibernates until cooler, wetter weather returns in autumn. It sticks around in the cooler months looking like a miniature iris with fans of flat grass-like leaves. Height is wildly variable from 5 inches to 18 inches. Ours have overwintered at about 6 inches. There is also a yellow version called, oddly, Yellow Eyed Grass.

In mid-spring to early summer, stems shoot up above the foliage and bloom with successive bluish-purple flowers. These turn to brown seed capsules and it will self-seed into a cute little colony of itself. It likes growing under larger shrubs & trees and will take full sun as well. Loves to be watered, but will adapt to drought.

Looks great as a ground cover under small deciduous garden trees. It’s an excellent choice for a rain garden at the mid to upper levels of plantings. Super duper lovely as a pathway border plant, ushering visiting bipeds through a garden with beautiful native hospitality.