It is difficult to resist a plant with the name “turtlehead’. I knew it as a child when it grew along a stream near my home forming a great mass and putting out its funny–looking rose colored flowers late in the summer. I never really thought the flowers looked anything like a turtle’s head but they are very unique looking, more like snapdragon flowers than anything else I can think of. They intrigued me and my friends and are a “must have” in a garden for children. What could be more fun than introducing a young child to a plant with such an intriguing name and interesting looking flower? Turtleheads do best in a boggy area in full sun where they grow strong stems and do not need to be staked. I think I will have to enlarge the bog garden to accommodate some.
Type: Herbaceous perennial.
Bloom: Rose-colored flowers resembling those of snapdragons bloom in late summer in clusters at the tips of the stems.
Size: 2-4′ H x 1 ½-2 ½’ W.
Light: Full sun in wet sight; part shade in less moisture.
Soil: Fertile, humusy, boggy to moist, acid; does not tolerate drying out.
Hardiness: Zones 5-8.
Care: Pinch to encourage flowering; stake if grown in shade.
Pests and Diseases: None of significance if grown in moist conditions. Susceptible to mildew if soil dries out.
Propagation: Division in early spring; cuttings in spring or early summer.
Companion plants: Loosestrife, lobelia, Lousiana iris.