Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Native Spotlight: Indian Pink

Guest Blog by Rachel Shaw 

Spigelia marilandica, common name Indian Pink or Pink Root, is a handsome addition to the native plant garden. Mine are planted in shade next to White Turtlehead (Chelone glabra) and two years after planting are filling in nicely. They are blooming now, and having just read that the blooming season can be extended by removing spent flowers, I went out to do so and found that most dead blooms had obligingly dropped off without my help. I also learned recently from reading Rick Dark and Doug Tallamy’s The Living Landscape that Spigelia’s seeds are dehiscent, propelling the seed capsules some distance to start new seedlings. I haven’t seen this kind of spread yet, but I expect I will, as much of what I grow manages to get itself spread to other parts of the yard.

Spigelia is said to be very attractive to hummingbirds. Again something I haven’t observed yet in my own yard, but between it and the Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis) growing nearby, I’m on the lookout. Even if it had no other obvious benefit than its beautiful and unusual flower, I would still be delighted to have added this native to my own small landscape.

About the author:
Rachel Shaw focuses on vegetable gardening and growing native plants in her small yard in Rockville, Maryland. She blogs at

This guest blog post is part of a monthly Native Plants series posted around the 10th of each month. 


TiiuGardens said...

I started seeds for this in spring and while they are still tiny seedlings, they are willing growers in damp compost in very bright shade indoors. Looks like I might have to be patient until 2017 for blooms.

Botania said...

Nice! I'm glad they are thriving.

Anonymous said...

Note that just allowing the flower corollas to fall of will not extend the flowering season. You'll have to remove the entire flowering stalk (dead-head) them, to prevent seed ripening, a process which physiologically tells the plant "No more flowers needed". However, you may want to let seeds from the first flowering fall to increase the patch size, or at least don't prolong flowering so late into the season so that no seed can ripen before frost.

Anonymous said...

I have Sphigelia marilandica in my No. Va. suburban yard, which is all native plants (no lawn allowed). This is a great plant that needs more publicity. It is easy to grow, tolerant of monsoon (like this year) or drought, sun or shade. A few new plants have spring up from seed in my yard, but this plant also multiplies thickly from a common root stock that can be dug up in the fall and split every 5 years or so.

I have observed hummingbirds nectaring on my Sphigelia--they like it, along with the nearby trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens), which is a gift that keeps on giving!... if anyone would like some, I have some to give away!

--Deana Crumbling
Alexandria, VA