Spigelia marilandica, Indian pink or woodland pinkroot, is irresistible to hummingbirds and is a long-flowering native perennial perfectly at home in the shade garden. You don’t see Indian pink much outside its native habitat or the occasional botanical garden. I was blown away the first time I came upon this gorgeous native plant.
Widely adaptable, Spigelia marilandica is found in wetter areas, even at the edges of bogs. Woodland pinkroot is perfectly at home in garden soils with average moisture content and is even considered drought tolerant.
Indian pink can be tricky to find for sale, but this is changing. Recognizing the ornamental and ecological value of woodland pinkroot, the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture is conducting research into the effective propagation of Spigelia.
Known as indian pink or indian pinkroot, Spigelia marilandica is a somewhat rare native perennial of great ecological and aesthetic value.
It is native to a large portion of the southeastern United States. I’ve seen Spigelia marilandica growing and flowering happily in the garden in dense shade. It is beautiful at the edge of woodland areas where morning sun or filtered light brings out the best in the maroon-red flowers.
Indian pink description & culture
Should you choose to grow Spigelia marilandica in your own garden, it prefers moist and humous-laden soil. It is easy to grow in shade to partial shade (morning sun and afternoon shade). Many gardeners have tried indian pink in full sun with good results; in full sun, provide plenty of moisture, and evening shade from the late afternoon heat is still a good idea. Well-drained soil is recommended.
Left undisturbed indian pink will spread, but never aggressively. The USDA Forest Service has a great write-up.
The flowers and foliage are healthy and rarely tatty-looking. Plants that are the picture of good health in the garden are incredibly valuable. The narrow, tubular flowers are 2″ long and a deep, rich maroon-red with a lemon-yellow interior. The contrast between the red exterior and yellow interior is soft and beautiful.
Winter hardiness zones: 5-9
|Common name(s)||Indian pink, woodland pinkroot|
|Of note||considered unappetizing to deer – the flower color is a deep maroon wine – hummingbirds love Spigelia|
|Water requirements||drought tolerant, average, moist soil conditions, high|
|Soil quality||rich, well-drained|
|Suggested use(s)||bog gardens, cottage gardens, mixed borders/perennial beds, native collections, shade gardens, understory, woodlands|
|Hardiness zone(s)||5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b|
|Deciduous or evergreen||deciduous|
|Bloom period||mid to late spring|
|Exposure||afternoon shade, filtered light, full shade|