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Indian Pink - A Wildflower for the Hummingbird Garden

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Indian Pink - A Wildflower for the Hummingbird Garden

The Indian Pink Plant Prefers Part to Full Shade

Photo © Jamie McIntosh

The tidy habit of the Indian Pink is a welcome change from woodland flowers that take over the entire garden, like lily-of-the-valley and dead nettles. In its native habitat, you might find this uncommon wildflower growing along shady streams in woodland areas. However, there’s no need to poach plants from the wild; an increasing number of nurseries are satisfying the consumer demand for this plant.

Latin Name:

Indian Pink belongs to the genus Spigelia marilandica, which is part of the Loganaceae family. The Indian Pink plant is unusual in that most other plants in the Loganaceae family are tropical or annual flowers.

Common Names:

Indian Pink, Woodland Pinkroot, Worm Grass

USDA Hardiness Zones:

Indian Pink plants grow in zones 5 to 9. The native range of the plant is in the Southeastern part of the United States, but gardeners in other parts of the United States can try their hand at growing this low-care plant if their shade garden has rich loam and moist conditions.

Size of Indian Pink Plants:

Indian Pinks form clumps that grow between 12 and 18 inches.

Flowers of Indian Pink Plants:

Indian Pink plants flower during May and June, revealing crimson tubular blossoms that terminate in a yellow, five-tipped flare.

Foliage of Indian Pink Plants:

Indian Pink leaves are oval or lance-shaped, and have no stems; rather, they are attached directly to the stalks of the plants. The leaves are emerald green in color.

Additional Indian Pink Facts:

Indian Pinks seem like they were made for hummingbirds. In fact, some hummingbird feeders resemble an Indian Pink blossom! The bright red hue and tubular shape serves as a beacon for the birds, which are important pollinators of Indian Pinks.

Design Tips for Indian Pink:

Place Indian Pink along the edges of your paths in the woodland garden, where the creamy yellow blossom tips will glow in the shade like little firecrackers. If you want to stick to the native plant scheme, pair these plants with Trillium or Bleeding Heart. If you don’t mind introducing some non-native plants, plant Indian Pinks beside African Impatiens ‘Blondie’ to complement the yellow blossom tips.

Growing Tips for Indian Pink:

In addition to giving Indian Pink a sheltered, shady spot in the garden, you must provide this flower with rich, moist soil. Like most wildflowers, Indian Pink doesn’t require fertilizer, but it does appreciate the nutrients from a regular application of compost or leaf mold.

You can propagate the Indian Pink through division, or by gathering ripe seedheads from faded blossoms in early summer. Try to collect the seedheads before they burst, ejecting the seeds willy-nilly into the garden.

Maintenance:

Indian Pinks like a slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6.8, so if your soil is alkaline add organic matter to increase the acidity. Deadheading the faded flowers of Indian Pinks may prolong the blooming time.

Pests & Diseases of Indian Pink:

Indian Pinks are seldom bothered by insect pests, but they are bothered by plant pests! These plants can’t compete with weeds or aggressive garden plants, so make sure they have a space in the landscape all their own.
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