Gilia Plant Growing & Care Guide for Gardeners

In this Gardener's HQ guide, we'll explore cultivating Gilia plants in your garden, indoor spaces, and other settings.

Gily-flower, Thimble Flower, & Queen Anne's Thimble: Cultivation & Garden Use

Gilia plants bloom from summer through to autumn and carry globe or trumpet shaped flowers. These may be white, yellow, blue or pink.

Some common names include Thimble Flower, Bird's Eyes, Standing Cypress, and Queen Anne's Thimble.

Gilia capitata
Gilia capitata – Globe Gilia by The Marmot.

Gilia congesta
Gilia congesta by Matt Lavin.

Gilia Plant Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Gilia. Gily-flower, Queen Anne's Thimble, Thimble Flower. Gilia: Californian; Blue; Bird's Eye; Globe; Purplespot; Yellowthroat; Rock; Salt; Star; Rosy; Hollyleaf.
Life Cycle: Hardy annual.
Height: 4 to 47 inches (10 to 120 cm).
Native: Tropical and temperate regions of the Americas.
Growing Region: Zones 6 to 10.
Flowers: Summer or/and autumn.
Flower Details: Yellow, white, blue, pink. Five lobed. Globe or funnel-shaped.
Foliage: Spiral arrangement. Basal rosette. Fine.
Sow Outside: 1/8 inch (3mm). A few weeks before the last frost or in autumn. Spacing 6 to 36 inches (16 to 90 cm).
Sow Inside: Use peat pots. Germination time: two to three weeks. Temperature 55 to 65°F (12 to 18°C). Seven or eight weeks before expected last frost. Transplant outdoors following the last frost.
Requirements: Full sunlight. Good drainage. Sandy soils. Provide support.
Family: Polemoniaceae.
Miscellaneous: Scarlet Gilia belongs to the Ipomopsis genus.

How to Grow Gilia Plants in the Garden

For best results it is best to grow thimble flower, Bird's eyes, and other Gilia genus plants outdoors from seed. Sow the Thimble flower seeds at a depth of about 3 mm (1/8 inch).

Space Gilia plants at 20 to 40 cm (8 to 16 inches; small varieties) through to 60 to 80 cm (24 to 32 inches; large species).

It should take from two to three weeks for the Gilia plants to germinate at a temperature of 12 to 18 degrees centigrade (54 to 64°F).

Thimble flowers like to grow in sunny areas of the garden. This should have good drainage and a sandy soil.

Caring for Gilia

Members of the Gilia plant genus, such as Thimble flower and Standing Cypress, basically look after themselves and require little attention. It may be a good idea to stake taller Gilia varieties.

Common Questions

How many members does the Gilia genus have?

The Gilia genus contains about 60 species.

Do members of Gilia make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Gilia species are appreciated for their delicate, colorful flowers and can make a delightful addition to wildflower gardens.

Which Gilia species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

Gilia capitata, also known as Globe Gilia, is a commonly grown species recognized for its attractive, globe-shaped flower clusters.

Are members of the Gilia plant genus fragrant?

While some Gilia species may have a mild scent, they are generally not recognized for their fragrance.

What is the perfect location to grow Gilia?

Gilia plants prefer full sun and well-drained soil. They are tolerant of dry and poor soil conditions.

Is Gilia invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Currently, Gilia species are not recognized as invasive in the USA.

How do I remove Gilia plants from my garden?

Gilia can be removed by hand pulling. Regularly monitor for seedlings to prevent unwanted spreading.


The Gilia genus belongs to the Polemoniaceae family. Native to the western United States and Mexico, these annual or perennial plants produce clusters of small, tubular flowers, often in shades of blue or pink.

Gilia can be sown in the spring or fall, in a sunny location with well-drained soil. Once established, they are fairly drought-tolerant, making them a good choice for xeriscaping. Light watering and occasional feeding will enhance their growth and flowering.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Gilia plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Cathedral bells, Amaryllis plant, and Polemonium plants.