Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox

Friday, May 31, 2013

Spotlight on Spigelia

Spigelia marilandica is another one of those wonderful native plants* that you won't find in your local big box store or even in most independent garden centers. Which is a gosh darn shame, it's a fantastic plant that would be an asset in most gardens.
Glossy green, ovate to lance-shaped leaves (to 4" long)
Indian Pink, as it is commonly known, is a clump-forming (boy oh boy, do I wish it colonized) perennial which naturally occurs in moist woods and along stream banks. The attractive upward facing trumpet shaped red flowers, flare at the top to form a five pointed yellow star. The colorful and unusual flowers are an outstanding source of nectar for hummingbirds and would be a marvelous addition to your pollinator friendly garden.  Of course, they are also perfect for your colorful cottage garden, your shady woodland garden or a moist sunny spot in your perennial garden. Once established they can take a less than moist summer garden soil, after all, they do grow well at Clay and Limestone.
When seen from above the flowers look like stars
No, you won't find this uncommon beauty in just any place. You'll have to seek it out from a native plant specialist, but, it's worth the effort to get this hummingbird magnet into your garden. The red and yellow flowers grab attention in a shady garden and when massed in the right spot they can knock your socks off.
Massed in front of the pond in Robyn Brown's garden
 Go on, pull those socks back on and start looking for these beauties for your garden!
Spigelia is pollinated by hummingbirds!
In case you need convincing: Indian Pink is listed as one of the Top Ten plants for attracting hummingbirds. I can't grow everything on the list, but, I sure can get more Spigelia malilandica and maybe a few more on that hummer list!

xoxogail

"Top Ten" Native Hummingbird Plants
 
#1: Trumpet Creeper, Campsis radicans
#2: Beebalm or Oswego Tea, Monarda didyma
#3: Trumpet Honeysuckle, Lonicera sempervirens
#4: Cardinal Flower, Lobelia cardinalis
#5: Spotted Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis
#6: Red Columbine, Aquilegia canadense
#7: Canada Lily, Lilium canadense
#8: Indian Pink, Spigelia marilandica
#9: Red Buckeye, Aesculus pavia
#10: Mountain Rosebay or Catawba Rhododendron, Rhododendron catawbiense



*Habitat: Found in rich woods from New Jersey to Florida and west to Texas and Wisconsin, primarily in the Southern States.

Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.

27 comments:

  1. The first photo made me go, WOW!
    The second photo, DOUBLE WOW!
    Magnificent!
    Have a wonderful week-end!
    Lea
    Lea's Menagerie

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Lea, you have a good weekend, too.

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  2. Hi Gail...I'm lucky enough to have one of these plants. It was given to me by a friend a couple of years ago, but it seemed to die right away. Well, this year it came up...just amazing! I am so happy to have it! Now if I could just get some hummers to come and visit it!

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    Replies
    1. Great news...I think it will be happy in your garden and make the hummers hover.

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  3. I just bought this plant by mail order. I'm so nervous about it thriving that it's still in its pot! I don't want to pick the wrong spot.

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    Replies
    1. I hope you find a good home for it Alison. I think your climate will be perfect.

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  4. One of my favorites. I saw a gorgeous blooming clump growing in the woods at a garden in Massachusetts. I have tried twice with this plant and failed, but I am unwilling to go without it. So here I am again, trying a third spigelia that I got mail-order from Forestfarm. Hopefully I have it in a better spot this time -- how I want to see those pretty red flowers! Thanks for spotlighting it here.

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    Replies
    1. It's such a special plant and I hope it does make it this time.

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  5. Wonderful images of fabulous plant, dear Gail! I wish it were happier here, but the small patch is prized anyway. Maybe it needs moved so I could possibly water it.
    xoxoxo
    Frances

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  6. I fell in love with this plant when I saw it in so many gardens in Asheville last year. I looked everywhere for it this spring, but found it only on Plant Delights' website--but I was too cheap to buy it there:) I wish more places would carry Spigelia--it's such a beauty!

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    Replies
    1. They can get costly when you add the shipping charges, but I do hope you order one.

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  7. They are gorgeous. I found some this spring at Bustani and placed them in semi-shady spots throughout the garden. Will have to see if I can get them going. Great advice.~~Dee

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    Replies
    1. I know they compliment your garden wonderfully...I want more of them to scatter around.

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  8. I have a big patch of spigelia that I just love. it grows very well for me. Lazy S's Farms Nursery always carries it. :o)

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  9. Love this plant and not sure how I got this plant...even though it is not a native here I do have it in the garden...

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  10. I've always confused Indian Pink with Indian Paintbrush, thinking both were plants of the west. I'm going to have to come up with a plan on getting some of these guys into my garden. I've heard it is easier to grow than cardinal flower. Looking at your top ten list, I see that I have for: Beebalm, Columbine, Trumpet Honeysuckle, and Cardinal Flower.

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    Replies
    1. That's a good point about being easier to grow than cardinal flower and it's earlier so the newly arriving hummers will be happy.

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  11. I love this native, mainly for its color and unusual form. And you are right in it being hard to find at garden centers. However, I know that growers can by plugs of it to grow on, because we got some for the botanical garden's plant sale, and they were one of the first plants to sell out.

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  12. That is beautiful...so you have some in your garden?

    I was hoping that you would ID the green headed bug for me...only had the 50 mm lens on, so couldn't get a closer shot.

    Jen

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  13. Looks great. It was already on my "want list" - but you've definitely reinforced my feeling that it's a plant that I should add to the garden soon!

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  14. "..it's a fantastic plant that would be an asset in most gardens."

    Definitely, how can you get wrong with that beauty.

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  15. Gail girl how are you !!
    That first picture of yours is truly stunning !! .. and YES !! .. I grow this beauty too because I just love it to bits .. I can't imagine having it colonize as in one of those pictures above .. that is simply amazing.
    They are late to show themselves here .. so I always order another one in my mail order adventures just to make sure I have one on hand .. husband likes them a lot too.
    Perfect post for perking perpetual gardeners up ! haha
    Joy : )

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  16. My step grandmother offered me one this past weekend. I can't wait to find a spot for it so I can take her up on her offer!!

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  17. I just read that Top Ten list today, and realized I need to do some shopping. ;-) Gosh, you captured that first photo in just the perfect light! Spigelia is a lovely plant!

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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