Indian Pink, a Bright Spot in the Shade

So here’s a plant that probably isn’t as widely used as it should be: Indian Pink (Spigelia marilandica).

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Most shade perennials bloom in spring, some in fall. Indian Pink is one of the few that will bloom in early to mid-summer (at least here in the Chicago area). The tubular red and yellow flowers are certainly eye-catching. They are also attractive to hummingbirds.

I’ve tried to grow some other brightly colored wildflowers in shade. Fire Pink (Silene virginica) died on me almost immediately. Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) looks great for a year or two, then it also fades away. Indian Pink, while not setting the world on fire, seems perfectly content to settle into our back garden.

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This clump-forming perennial is native to Southern Illinois, though not to the Chicago area. Close enough, I say. It likes moisture but doesn’t seem to require very moist soil.

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Another think I like about this plant is that it emerges late in the season, making it a good companion for spring bulbs.

I’m looking forward to bigger and better clumps of Indian Pink in summers to come.

33 Comments on “Indian Pink, a Bright Spot in the Shade

  1. Oh, thanks! I think I’ll look into this one. I’m a little far north, but maybe … I need something that blooms in late spring/early summer in shade. I’m adding various mid-season Alliums and the Foxglove seems to be going strong, but I need more ideas. This is a beauty!

  2. I tried Silene, and it was beautiful but very short-lived. You have convinced me to try indian Pink!

  3. Flowers in the shade are few and far between in the summer, this makes it a very desirable plant!

  4. Not many plants can survive in shade, so you have experience Jason. I should try this plant with such bright color in my garden as well.

  5. Not one I am familiar with. How nice to get those flowers now and the form and shape are so much more subtle than daylilies and many of the red/yellow flowers of July.

    • Yes, the flowers are much smaller than daylilies for one thing. The colors are cheerful but the size means in isn’t overwhelming.

  6. I grow the Lobelia and Silene, but both are not very happy in our clay. The Lobelia grows great, then falls over. Good luck, you seem to have found the right spot and plant.

  7. Indian Pink is a lovely plant, and it is always nice to have something colourful growing in the shady bits of the garden. In our garden it seems there is always an element of luck, when a plant is in just the right spot..

  8. I am not familiar with this plant but it is lovely. I went to my expert source, the Missouri Botanical Garden site and it seems that I should be able to grow it in Massachusetts. I will be looking for it. It is perfect for our new town garden.

  9. What a great little plant! Shade is always a nightmare, I can’t grow anything under my 60 foot beech trees.xxx

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