Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

Pink Turtlehead

Pink Turtlehead

Chelone lyonii

Full to part sun, wet to medium moisture level; light, rich humusy soil; neutral to slightly acid pH.  2-4 ft. height, blooms mid-summer to fall, pink flowers, may self-seed in moist soils, spreads slowly by rhizomes.

Germination Code:  ?

Native Region:  Lightly in East Tennessee, primarily in the Blue Ridge Province

Snapdragon-like clear pink flowers with lustrous leaves and tighter growth habit compared to White Turtlehead.  Native to southern Appalachians.  Occurs naturally in wetlands but does well in average garden soil if not allowed to get too dry.  Larval food for Baltimore checkerspot butterfly.


4 responses to “Pink Turtlehead

  1. Joy Stewart September 19, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    I just want to post a note to encourage people to plant this species. I consider it an overlooked native charmer. I put mine in some fairly heavy clay at the bottom of a slope with a few rocks around it to help keep in the moisture. Three to four years later one plant is now a dense growth about 3 feet across, and I have rarely watered it. My hummingbirds like it and it is a tidy, very attractive plant that blooms for a long time.

    • Linda Britt October 13, 2012 at 9:33 pm

      Ms. Stewart: Last year about mid-October I stumbled upon a native turtlehead plant on a creek bed close to our home in NE Georgia. I’ve been watching for it this year and can find no signs of it. Are these perhaps biennial? They are gorgeous and I felt honored to have at least seen it.

      • joylucile October 20, 2012 at 9:37 pm

        Thank you for your post! It was fun to read. I am glad you found the turtlehead and enjoyed it. It is a perennial so I am not sure why it disappeared. If you want some, I can dig up a chunk of roots from my pink turtlehead and mail it to you in the spring. Just let me know.

  2. joystewart August 28, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    I don’t mean to overdo posts on this plant species but I would like to add one more. My patch of Pink turtlehead is now in full bloom and that one plant from 2006 is now a patch 7 feet by 6 1/2 feet across. It is absolutely gorgeous and I wish I could attach a photo to this comment. It is fun to watch the bees get pollen from the flowers because they have to crawl inside and they completely disappear from sight when doing it.

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