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Woolly Bluecurls
Trichostema lanatum
About Woolly Bluecurls (Trichostema lanatum) Nurseries Show All Photos Trichostema lanatum (Romero or Woolly Blue Curls) is a highly fragrant, small evergreen shrub or sub-shrub, with curly and woolly blue flowers that give the plant its common name. It is native to oak woodlands, chaparral and coastal sage scrub communities in the southern half of the state and usually grows within 50 miles of the coast. In the drier southern part of its range, Woolly Blue Curls are often found in semi-riparian areas, near creek beds, and in bottom lands with more soil moisture. It is many-branched and grows to 1.5 meter (5 feet) tall, with narrow, pointed green leaves. The smooth-petaled blue flowers are born in dense clusters, with the stem and calyces covered in woolly hairs of blue, pink, or white. Hummingbirds are very attracted to the flowers.

While Woolly Blue Curls are a spectacular plant, they are fairly difficult to keep alive for more than a few years. They are fire followers, and tend to have a short lifespan in nature. In landscaping applications, they need regular water their first year to become established. After that, even occasional summer water will sometimes kill it. If properly sited, it will usually tolerate light or indirect summer water up to 1x per month. They need very well draining soil, and do best if surrounded by rocks, not organic mulch. They like part shade or full sun. Even if your Woolly Blue Curls only last a few years, they are worth it. They'll grow to nearly full size within their first year, and start producing magnificent blue flowers soon after going into the ground.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
5 ft (1.5 m)

Max. Width
5 ft (1.5 m)


Fragrant - Pleasant

Growth Rate


Narrow, 3-8 cm long, dark green and smooth on the upper surface, white and hairy on the under surface. Fragrant, reported to make a good tea when dried

Flower Color
Blue, Lavender, Pink

Flowering Season
Spring, Fall, Winter

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Chaparral vegetation on well drained mesas, rocky canyon slopes, primarily from Monterey County to San Diego County and extending into Baja California, Mexico. Occasionally found in coastal sage scrub and semi-riparian areas.

Part Shade, Sun

Elevation ?
5' - 6306'

Annual Precip. ?
10.7" - 49.3"

Summer Precip. ?
0.14" - 2.63"

Coldest Month ?
37.6° F - 56.2° F

Hottest Month ?
60.1° F - 79.3° F

Humidity ?
0.59 vpd - 27.56 vpd

Soil Description
Often but not always found on eroded gabbro or sandstone soils

Soil Texture

Soil PH
6.0 - 7.5


Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 0° F

Sunset Zones ?
10, 14, 15*, 16*, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22*, 23*, 24*

Wildlife Attracted
Hummingbirds, insects

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Moderately Easy

Water Requirement ?
Very Low, Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Very Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water, 1x/month
No Summer Water
Keep moist


Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: 2 mos. stratification (Hildreth and Johnson 1976); 3 mos. stratification at 32°F using old stored seeds ( Mirov 1945). Difficult. Easily propagated from stem cuttings.

Common uses
Deer Resistant, Bird Gardens, Butterfly Gardens, Bee Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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