Plant of the Week
If you garden in shade, you may be devoted to finding excitement in varying hues of green. Shade has its firecrackers, though, and one of them is a little-known perennial called Indian pink. In June, this southeastern wildflower sizzles in the shadows with 2-inch-long, trumpet-shaped, fire-engine red flowers that open to yellow throats. Hummingbirds love the blooms. When the show is over, the wide heart-shaped leaves stay deep green and glossy. And unlike other shade plants, which can be aggressive, Indian pink is very well behaved. It forms a small clump where you plant it, and doesn’t naturalize or reseed excessively.
Common name: Indian pink, Maryland pinkroot, woodland pinkroot
Botanical name: Spigelia marilandica
Plant type: Perennial
Zones: 5 to 9
Height: 1 to 2 feet
• Sun: Part shade to full shade
• Soil: Average, well-drained, humus-rich
• Moisture: Average to moist
• Mulch: Mulch to preserve moisture in the soil.
• Pruning: None needed.
• Fertilizer: None needed.
• By seed and division.
Pests and diseases
• Vulnerable to powdery mildew and leaf spots.
• Though Indian pink flowers are red and yellow, they aren’t garish. They make pleasant neighbors for plants with white, pink, and yellow blossoms.
• Use Indian pink in woodland gardens, around a water feature, or in the front of a shady perennial border.
• Combine Indian pink with Jacob’s ladder, wild geranium, wild ginger, rue anemone, and other shade-loving natives. Give it a sheltered place where it won’t be overwhelmed by taller or more aggressive plants.
All in the family
• There are just a few North American relatives of Indian pinkroot, and they aren’t much for traveling. Two species are found only in Texas: Texas pinkroot (Spigelia texana) and prairie pinkroot (S. hedyotidea). Another species, purpleflower pinkroot (S. gentianoides) is found only in Florida and Alabama, and is threatened or endangered in both states. Most of the rest of the genus (about 50 species) prefer the tropics.
Where to buy
• Heronswood, 877-674-4714, www.heronswood.com
• Plant Delights, Raleigh, NC, 919-772-4794, www.plantdelights.com
(Photo of Spigelia marilandica courtesy of the Kemper Center for Home Gardening at the Missouri Botanical Garden.)
Friday, June 25, 2010 8:33 PM
I am looking for SweetPea flowers and rhubarb plants. Where can I find them? Also, we just planted a crabapple tree this year. I will be needing recipes. Thank-you.
Monday, June 28, 2010 6:16 PM
This looks like a very beautiful plant. I am always looking for shade plants as about 2/3 of my front yard is shaded. This looks like a great plant for me but as it is going into July I will have to wait until nest year.
Wednesday, July 07, 2010 1:06 PM
I have this plant,,They grow wild in our area in w-KY..There more beautiful when they bloom.And the first thing in spring to bloom for me..
Friday, March 18, 2011 8:28 AM
have limitted shade but do have one area that has only some hosta and vinca, usually accent w/annuals. may give this a try.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011 12:06 PM
How long due the blooms last?
Tuesday, March 29, 2011 12:25 PM
They last for a few weeks, and the first bloom that is very pretty , the red tube flower with yellow centers are so striking..Just a good plant to have in the flower beds. And they do have seeds also.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011 4:56 PM
My shady area is in the backyard where my dogs are. Are these plants poisonous to animals?
Tuesday, March 29, 2011 7:29 PM
How long does it take to grow this plant from seed to bloom? Sounds like a good candidate for Southern Calif shade areas.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 12:58 PM
I have dogs and never had them chew on my plants, Not for sure if they are poison,You should be able to look it up..
I am lucky to have these beauties in my yard and our woods in Ky. Seeds should do good also.
Wednesday, May 04, 2011 4:22 AM
im trying to build a shade gardenhow wood i start
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 11:54 AM
Hello, I have been looking for the name of this beautiful flower. It is growing like a wildflower here at my home. Tell me how do I harvest the seeds from this flower? I want to grow these in another garden in my yard but I'm afarid to move them, for fear they will die. They are so pretty! and will these live in a flower pot if I keep it in the shade. Thank you kindly for any and all help with this.
Thursday, May 26, 2011 8:45 AM
ngladden, are you talking about the Indian Pink, It does good in my flower bed,I dug them up from the woods a few years ago and there nice and tall now, Get maybe 2 feet. It was warmer weather when I got my starts. There pretty tough plants that I seen. The seeds will be seen after they bloom,But you have to keep a check on them all the time, you will be able to see the seeds are they mature.Good luck..They are beautiful aren't they.
Thursday, May 26, 2011 8:50 AM
t&L,,find your spot you want, clear out all the weeds, and work the soil , Then using good soil ,I use potting soil for gardens, work in the ground, Plant what you want for the shade, and then put some fertilizer around the area, add compost around the plants and I hope you will have pretty plants in a few weeks and they flourish for you.Good luck.
Thursday, May 26, 2011 2:06 PM
I amend my soil for new plants with 1/3 each topsoil, coarse sand and sphagnum peat moss. The plants grow like crazy and because of the sand the soil is loose enough the weeds come right out with little pulling.
Saturday, May 28, 2011 9:30 AM
Thank you all so much for the info! Yes these are gourgeous little flowers. Again thanks to all. My son pulled one up and took it to a friend who just put it in water 5 days ago, it is still blooming! I will be planting these more often.
Monday, June 06, 2011 8:26 PM
when do i need to plant in/pinks.. i live in va and half of my yard is all shade..
Tuesday, June 07, 2011 2:49 AM
In the article it says they cn be planted in full shade, and they should be planted by now.
Tuesday, June 07, 2011 2:49 PM
susannaj3, Hello! I would think these would need to be planted early spring. But do heed everybodys warnning about weeds taking over them, they will quick. Mine just came up like a wild flower and grew till the weeds over come them. I did not plant mine. Where we live there are all kinds of flowers I have never seen till this year. So this is a learning thing for me also. But, best of luck with them 'cause they are beautiful!
Saturday, June 23, 2012 2:11 PM
where can I puchase this perennial
Monday, June 25, 2012 8:58 PM
It's at the bottom of the article..."Where to buy these"