Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wildflower Wednesday: In the Pink

Goodness, it's been so long since I've joined in on Wildflower Wednesday that I've almost forgotten what to say! That's not exactly true, of course--I always read the posts celebrating wildflowers and natives all over the world hosted each month by good friend Gail of Clay and Limestone.  It's just that I don't have many wildflowers, and most of my natives are later bloomers, so I tend to wait until summer to join in.

 I do have several natives blooming at the moment, including Phlox pilosa, better known as PPPP, and a native Penstemon, both kindly shared with me by Gail several years ago.  And, of course, one of the natives I look forward to each spring--the beautiful lavender blooms of Baptisia!  But today I want to focus on a new plant in my garden.

Indian Pinks in a North Carolina garden.

I don't remember when or where I first saw Spigelia marilandica, better known as Indian Pink, but I do remember when I first fell in love with this plant.  It was at the Spring Fling in Asheville in 2012 that I saw masses of these red blooms in several gardens and vowed then that I would have it one day in my own garden.

Indian Pink is native to Southeastern U.S., and although it is hardy to zone 5, it is not commonly seen in the wild in Illinois.  In fact, Illinois Wildflowers, my usual source of information for native plants, lists it only as somewhat of a footnote.  Another source called it an "unusual wildflower," which explains why I had so much trouble finding a source for buying some.

One of my two "babies"

One well-known nursery did offer it for sale, but their plants were rather pricey, so I searched and searched for another seller.  I eventually found some in stock at Prairie Nursery in Wisconsin and quickly ordered two plants in March, before they sold out.  I had never ordered from this nursery before, but I must say I was very pleased.  I ordered a few other plants, including some wild ginger, and everything was packaged so well and was green and healthy when I opened up the box.  My two little Indian pinks even had the beginnings of blooms already!

 Spigelia marilandica is a clump-forming perennial that prefers moist, organically-rich soil and shade to part shade.  I planted mine in a new expansion of my shade garden, which I covered with a thick layer of mushroom compost, so I do hope it will be happy here.  It blooms in spring or early June, depending on the zone, but if deadheaded, may bloom into summer.  Its trumpet-shaped red flowers open up to reveal yellow centers that attract hummingbirds.  I did not find any information that it attracts other pollinators, but keeping the hummingbirds happy is enough for me!

Many wildflowers have been used in herbal medicines, but Indian pinks probably aren't a good choice for this.  They have been used as a de-wormer and as a hallucinogen, but can be deadly if ingested.

Another planting in a North Carolina garden
Indian Pink grows one to two feet tall, and can form a clump up to one and a half feet wide.  I am hoping that my two little plants settle in here and form some beautiful masses like this one in the coming years!

For more interesting information on wildflowers and native plants, visit the bee-friendly garden of Gail at Clay and Limestone.


  1. This is a beauty. I would like to get a stand of this going too.

  2. You have such an amazing range of wild flowers in the States. This Spigelia is new to me, it is absolutely charming. I am going to see if any nurseries here stock it.

  3. Your flowers look fantastic, I love tubular red flowers, and the hummingbirds must appreciate them.

  4. Your flowers look fantastic, I love tubular red flowers, and the hummingbirds must appreciate them.

  5. Your flowers look fantastic, I love tubular red flowers, and the hummingbirds must appreciate them.

  6. Rose girl ... my goodness you are way ahead of me with the blooms. I think i lost both my Indian Pinks over the winter but ? my old baptisia left some of her children for me and that makes me very happy indeed.
    You have a wonderful clump of Indian Pinks there !
    very nice pictures to see this cloudy evening.
    Joy : )

  7. Gorgeous wildflowers and perennials! I hadn't realized that so many were used as herbal medicines (other than Echinacea). Our woodland wildflowers are just coming out.

  8. I love them and am working on massing them in a spot right in front of the porch. So glad you were able to find them, they will seed if happy, then you'll have more for the hummers. Happy WW!

  9. I can see why you fell in love with Indian Pink Rose, it certainly is pretty.
    Native planting is the best way. I removed a lot of plants from the garden last year, mainly non native. It has been brutal but the borders are slowly becoming more manageable :)

  10. Such a pretty wildflower. It grows wild on my farm and also in my garden(not wild tho). Years ago I visited a wildflower garden in town and she had the most magnificent clump of growing. It must have been 20'x10' and simply spectacular. I've never seen it grown so well and have tried to duplicate those conditions with no luck. Oh well. I am surprised you don't find it too often in Illinois. Maybe it is more common in southern Illinois?

  11. The Indian pinks are lovely and the hummingbirds must really love them. Beautiful photos!

  12. I've never seen before Spigelia marilandica and the last photo is pretty. How interesting are wild flowers!
    Have a nice week, Rose!

  13. I was wondering why I never heard of Indian Pinks. Zone and region I guess. They are not pink though are they? I like that red with yellow. Really is a bright addition to a garden against the verdant green foliage. I love any plant attracting the hummingbirds. Really makes the garden filled with wildlife, butterflies must like it too even though you found no conformation.

  14. Lisa, I've read several comments from people who lost theirs over the winter. I'm keeping my fingers crossed these make it here. This would look great in your garden.

    Chloris, Interstingly enough, I read that Indian pink has become more popular in the UK. You might have better luck finding a source for buying it than I did!

    Hannah, These look like the perfect hummingbird magnets, don't they?

    Joy, I'm going to mulch these really well this fall, hoping they will make it through the winter. Surely winter won't be as bad this year??

    Sarah, So many wildflowers were used in herbal medicine, especially by Native Americans. Probably not a good idea for us to make concoctions from them, though:)

  15. Gail, My goal is to have a mass of them like the ones I saw in the Gentling garden and the NC Arboretum. I do hope mine re-seed!

    Cheryl, I've had trouble getting some wildflowers and natives to settle in here. But not coneflowers--they've re-seeded all over the place! I hope the Indian Pinks are just as happy here.

    Tina, Such a large mass must be spectacular in the spring! I'd be happy with just a few smaller clumps. I don't know why it's not common in Illinois, but you may be right that it might be found in Southern IL.

    Mygardener, I haven't noticed the hummingbirds around them yet, but my plants are pretty small, so maybe they haven't noticed them yet.

    Nadezda, The last photo is how I hope mine look one day!

    Donna, I thought about that and didn't find any answer as to why they're called "Pink" when they're definitely red and yellow. I would think, too, that the butterflies would enjoy these plants.

  16. Hi Rose! I think I saw this plant while visiting N.Carolina. I like its bicolored blooms and even its name! It looks great in masses.

  17. Hi Rose, That is an interesting flower. I hope your babies do well. Baptisias are some of my favorites, and the bees have been feeding from them a lot.

    Yes, those are Golden alexanders in my background. Are you on Facebook? I am Sue Dawson. If you send me a friend request, I will post some photos of some that I have that self sowed this spring.

  18. Really amazing flowers and colors !
    Lovely photos !

  19. I'd never heard of Indian Pinks --it is a really interesting flower, and anything that attracts hummingbirds is worth cultivating!

  20. Oh, I agree with you, the Indian Pink is a lovely plant! This one is new to me too.
    I must admit I am not really sure what constitutes ‘wildflowers’ or ‘native flowers’, so I have never joined this meme, after all, a lot of the plants that are considered ‘native’ to Britain or are growing wild in Britain today, were brought here 1-300 years ago and would not have been growing here had it not been for someone actively bringing them here from other parts of the world – and that process is very much ongoing. I looked up wildflowers on Google and got several definitions, all had something to do with “plants growing in natural places, undisturbed or untouched by people”. Definitely not a description of my garden :-)

  21. I have a large clump of spigelia in my garden and I look forward to seeing them bloom every year. Mine grow in the shade under two crepe myrtle trees. Another source is Niche Gardens in NC and Lazy S's Farm Nursery here in VA. You'll probably want to add more this fall! Your plants look like they're off to a fabulous start. :o)

  22. Your Spigelia are really lovely. I planted five last fall, two of those survived the winter. I am really looking forward to seeing them bloom.

  23. It does the heart good to see such beautiful blooms.
    Maggie x

    Nuts in May

  24. Tatyana, the ones I saw in N.C. were in masses--that's my goal here!

    Sue, I will let you know how well it does here. I'll have to send you a message on Facebook to explain who I am--I'm already your friend:)

    Ela, The red and yellow are really striking, aren't they?

    Cassi, Actually, I think the first time I saw Indian Pinks was on a Chicagoland blogger's post. I'll let you know how they do here.

    Helene, I depend on several sources to tell me whether a plant is native or not; we certainly have our share of older, imported plants, too. I think it helps that we only have to go back a few hundred years to know whether something is native or not, unlike in the U.K.:)

  25. Casa, I actually intended to order from Lazy S', but by the time I got around to it, they were sold out! I'm hoping these do as well in the Midwest as in the Southeast.

    Jason, Glad to know at least two of yours survived--being farther south, that gives me hope!

    Maggie May, Glad these blooms brought you some joy. Hope you are doing well.

  26. This is a plant that I want to add to my garden as well. I love that lipstick red and the burst of yellow.
    I noticed Spigelia marilandica at my favourite nursery last summer, but missed seeing any plants for sale this spring. Thanks for the timely reminder Rose! Now I will make a point of looking for it.

  27. Yeh. that's a beautiful blog decorated with colorful flowers. Though i am little familiarized with Wildflower but it looks like amazing and i'm impressed.

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  28. I must try Indian pink again. I killed it the first time. I've seen it on two blogs recently, and of course, I simply must have it. I have just the place. :) ~~Dee


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