Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Indian Pink

Spigelia marilandica ( Indian Pink )
A moderate growing, bushy compact perennial, reaching up to 2.5 x 3 feet ( usually closer to 1.5 feet ) that is native to moist rich woodlands and riverbanks of southeastern U.S. ( Oklahoma to southeast Missouri to southern Indiana to Maryland; south to eastern Texas to far northern Florida ). It has become rare in the wild in many places and may no longer occur in Maryland. It is late to appear during spring ( mix with evergreen ferns and spring bulbs esp. trilliums ) but once it does, it is among the most beautiful of all out native flowers. Planted in drifts covering a large area, the Indian Pink is truly spectacular.
The oppositely-arranged, smooth-margined, lance-shaped to ovate leaves, 4 to 6 inches in length, are deep green. The foliage remains attractive all season long. Each stem bears 4 to 7 pairs of stalkless leaves.
The intense scarlet-red ( yellow throated ), upward facing, tubular, trumpet-shaped flowers, up to 2 x 1 inches, are borne during late spring into early summer ( removing the spent flowers extends the bloom season, sometimes for the remainder of summer ). The flowers are borne in clusters slong the stems. This is among the best of all native North American plants for attracting hummingbirds when grown en masse.
Hardy zones 4 to 9 ( reports of 3 with very heavy mulch ) in partial to full shade ( tolerates full sun if moist ) on humus rich, slightly acidic, fertile, well drained soil. It may thrive best with 2 to 3 hours of full sun daily, the remainder of the day in shade however tolerates much more diverse conditions. Heat tolerant as long as it is growing on moist soil.
This plant is very low maintenance once established, with no serious pests or disease problems though some mildew or minor leaf spot sometimes occurs. They are also deer resistant.
Plant during spring, preferrably while still dormant.
Propagation is nearly impossible from cuttings thus its rarity in cultivation and lack of named clones. It is easy from seed however and I personally recommend this plant for any woodland garden. Plants may take up to 3 years to bloom from seed. Older clumps can also be divided during early spring while still dormant.

* photos taken on May 16 2011 in Washington, D.C.

* photo taken @ U.S. Botanical Garden, Wash., DC on Aug 25 2014

* photo taken on Oct 21 2014 @ U.S. Botanical Gardens, Washington, DC

* photos taken on May 27 2017 @ Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA

* photos taken on May 28 2017 in Howard Co., MD

* photos taken on Aug 5 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

* photos taken on Oct 17 2017 in Columbia, MD

Spigelia gentianoides
A perennial native to the southeastern U.S. that is endangered with extinction.
It is native to the Apalachicola River Basin in far northern Florida.

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