First White Turtlehead Blooms
So not every bloom in the garden is yellow. For instance, I’ve got a single White Turtlehead (Chelone glabra) blooming in the Front Island Bed. This is my second effort to grow White Turtlehead, and I hope this time it settles in for the long haul.
White Turtlehead is not an easy plant to find, either in the wild or commercially (I ordered mine from Prairie Nursery in Wisconsin). Its cousin Pink Turtlehead (C. lyonii) is much easier to find in garden centers. Perhaps it is easier to grow. However, I much prefer the white-flowering species.
White Turtlehead is about 4 feet tall in our garden, upright and without need of staking (so far, at least). It likes full to part sun and lots of moisture. If it lasts, it will spread by rhizomes to make a nice clump.
It is native from New England through the Great Lakes region, as well as in parts of the Upper South.
This year our White Turtlehead has just one central stem. I’m hoping for more next year. It is growing cheek by jowl with Brown-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba) and Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata). You can confuse the leaves of the Swamp Milkweed and the White Turtlehead. Those of the Turtlehead are narrower and still a bright green, while the Swamp Milkweed is starting to turn maroon red.
Allegedly, White Turtlehead flowers look like a turtle’s head, hence the name. To me they look more like snake heads, especially the way they seem to be sticking their tongues out.
White Turtlehead is one of very few host plants for the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly. I’ve never seen a Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly, and growing White Turtlehead should improve my odds of seeing one.
Do you have any experience growing this plant?