Guide to Growing Innocence, Chinese Houses, & Blue Eyed Mary

Collinsia is a half hardy or hardy annual that reaches 30 to 60 cm in height.

It blooms in the middle of summer, with flowers of pink, blue or purple.

The flowers are often lip shaped, hence one of their common names – Bluelips; other names for Collinsia include Innocence, Blue-eyed Mary, and Chinese Houses.

It is a great plant to grow in borders even in containers.

Collinsia heterophylla
Collinsia heterophylla - Chinese houses by MiguelVieira; Creative commons.

Collinsia tinctoria
Collinsia tinctoria - Tincture Plant by Marlin Harms.

Quick Collinsia Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Chinese Houses, Blue Eyed Mary, Innocence, Tincture Plant.
Life Cycle: Hardy annual or half hardy annual.
Height: 4 to 24 inches (10 to 60 cm).
Native: North America.
Growing Region: Zones 3 to 10.
Flowers: Mid-spring to Summer.
Flower Details: Pink, violet, white. Towering inflorescences. Lobed. Snapdragon-like.
Foliage: Coarse. Lanceolate. Sometimes toothed.
Sow Outside: 1/4 inch (6mm). Continuous sowing from early spring. Can also be planted in autumn in mild climates. Spacing 3 to 12 inches (8 to 30 cm).
Sow Inside: Germination time: two to three weeks. Temperature 70°F (21°C). Six or seven weeks in advance. Transplant outdoors following the last frost.
Requirements: Full sunlight or light shade. Soil pH 5 to 8. Good drainage. Rich soil. Regular watering. Stake taller species. Deadhead.
Miscellaneous: Used as a traditional medicinal plants by native Americans.

How to Grow Innocence, Chinese Houses and other Collinsia

Seeds of should be planted outside in their final location either before the last frost of spring or in the autumn. Innocence should be grown in a sunny garden or a partially shaded one in hot areas; plant them about 20cm apart. Collinsia likes to grow in a soil of pH 5 to 8, that is moist but well drained, and fertile. The germination of Collinsia normally takes about two to three weeks.

Caring for Innocence

In windy areas Collinsia should be staked. The plant should be dead headed to encourage flowering and prevent the Innocence taking over the garden.

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