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Chelone glabra

Turtlehead

Dense spikes of white flowers are a welcome sight in late summer and early fall. Deep green foliage is handsome all season long. Butterflies, hummingbirds, bumblebees and other beneficial insects visit to drink the nectar. This is a host plant for the Baltimore checkerspot butterfly. Turtlehead also provides cover for frogs and toads. Great for bog gardens and ponds. Also lovely in the perennial border if the soil is moist.

Benefits

Nectar source for butterflies and other insects
Attracts hummingbirds
Host plant for Baltimore checkerspot butterfly
Stems provide nesting material for birds
Great cover for frogs and toads
Grows in wet soil and along streams

Homeowner Growing and Maintenance Tips

Best grown in moist to wet, rich, humusy soils in part shade. Appreciates a good composted leaf mulch, particularly in sunny areas. Consider pinching back the stem ends in spring to reduce mature plant height, especially if growing plants in strongly shaded areas where they are more likely to need some support. In optimum environments, however, staking is usually not required.


Height
24-36 Inches

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Spread
18-24 Inches

USDA Hardiness Zone 3-8

Native Range

Wet woods, swamps and shores; from Newfoundland to Minnesota south to Alabama and Georgia.

Native Trivia

What's the difference between a frog and a toad? Frogs have two bulging eyes and strong, webbed hind feet that are adapted for leaping and swimming and smooth or moist skin. Toads have stubby bodies with shorter hind legs (not as powerful a leaper as most frogs), and bumpy, dry skin and outside of mating, usually preferring dryer habitats.


"Chelone is a great fall nectar plant for my butterfly friends and a year-round place for frogs to hide."

Good Companions
Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis), Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis), Spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis)

Characteristics & Attributes

Plan Sub Group
Medium Perennials
Exposure
Filtered Shade
Morning Sun / Afternoon Shade
Sun
Soil
Wide soil tolerance
Soil Moisture Preference
Moist
Moist but well-drained
Wet
Attracts Wildlife
Beneficial insects
Butterflies
Reptiles
Songbirds
Bloom Time
Fall
Late Summer
Habitat Collection
Butterfly
Wet Sun
Native Habitat
Riparian, wetland
Foliage Color
Dark Green
Green
Uses
Bog, water garden
Border
Naturalizes
Native to
Alabama
Arkansas
Connecticut
Delaware
Georgia
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kentucky
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New York
North Carolina
Ohio
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
Tennessee
Vermont
Virginia
West Virginia
Wisconsin