Content Detail

Pink turtle-head is a glossy, deep green plant with uniquely-shaped pink to red flowers. The plant blooms in late summer or early fall. Tolerant of wet sites and some flooding and can be used in wet spots in the garden or along the edges of streams and ponds.

  • Family (English) Figwort
  • Family (botanic) Scrophulariaceae
  • Tree or plant type Perennial
  • Native locale North America
  • Size range Medium plant (12-24 inches), Large plant (more than 24 inches)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9
  • Soil preference Wet soil
  • Tolerances Occasional flooding, Wet sites
  • Season of interest late summer, early fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Pink, Yellow
  • Shape or form Upright
  • Growth rate Moderate


Matures to 3 to 4 feet tall and wide. With adequate moisture, large clumps will develop over time.

Native geographic location and habitat:

This perennial is native to the southern United States.

Attracts birds or pollinators:

Butterflies and other pollinators are attracted to the flowers.

Leaf description:

Rounded, toothed leaves are a shiny, dark green and opposite on the stem.

Flower description:

Hooded pink to hot pink flower heads are clumped at the tips of sturdy stems.

Fruit description:

The fruit is a pointed oval capsule that has several flat seeds with wings.

Plant care:

Plant in full sun to part shade in consistently moist soil. Should be divided in the spring. Do not cut down in winter, but wait for spring clean-up. You can control the size of the plant by pinching in spring, but you run the risk of pinching off the flower buds.

List of pests, diseases, tolerances and resistance:

No serious pests or diseases. Plants can mildew if the airflow is inadequate. Deer and rabbit resistant. Tolerates wet sites.

Hot Lips pink turtle-head (Chelone lyonii ‘Hot Lips’):

Deep rose-pink flowers.

Tiny Tortuga pink turtle-head (Chelone lyonii ‘Tiny Tortuga’):

A smaller version of ‘Hot Lips’, growing only to 18 inches tall and wide.


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