Alphabetical Plant Listing

Helonias bullata (Swamp Pink)

Swamp Pink


A harbinger of spring, Helonias bullata (Swamp Pink) is a clump-forming perennial wildflower growing from a thick rhizome that stores energy for the plant. Swamp Pink forms a basal rosette of flat, lanceolate or spatulate, evergreen leaves up to 10 in. long (25 cm). Emerging light green, the leaves mature to dark green and often turn reddish brown in the fall. While the winter leaves are often hidden by leaf litter, they feature a visible button in the center of their rosette that represents the next season’s flower head. In early to late spring, the plant boasts strikingly beautiful flowers, one per rosette, in the form of a 1-3 in. long cluster (2-7 cm), densely packed with 30 to 50 small, bubble gum pink flowers dotted with pale blue anthers. The blossoms exude a delightfully, heady fragrance that can often be detected from many feet away from the plants. They sit atop a hollow, leafless flowering stalk and attract a variety of pollinators including bees and butterflies. By early summer, the stem dies back and turns light brown in color, persisting until the first heavy rain or wind knocks it down. Swamp Pink is an obligate wetland species and requires an area that is perennially saturated but not flooded, with the water table at or near the surface and fluctuating only slightly during spring and summer months. Native to the eastern United States, it is found naturally in bogs, under shrubs, and in peaty soil. A most charming bog plant that is endangered in the southern part of its range.

  • Grows up to 10-16 in. tall (25-40 cm) and 12-18 in. wide (30-45 cm).
  • Performs best in part shade to full shade in peaty-sandy, wet soils.
  • A good choice for bog gardens.
  • No serious pest or disease issues.
  • Propagate by cold stratified seeds (3 months) or by division after flowering.
  • Swamp Pink was federally listed as a threatened species in 1988 due to the loss of its forested wetland habitat through encroaching development, sedimentation, pollution, and wetland drainage. Private landowners who have swamp pink on their property can help protect the species by preventing picking or digging of the plant and by leaving forested areas undisturbed.
  • Native to the eastern United States.

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Requirements

Hardiness 5 – 8
Plant Type Bulbs, Perennials
Exposure Partial Sun, Shade
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Height 10" – 2' (25cm – 60cm)
Spread 1' – 2' (30cm – 60cm)
Spacing 12" – 18" (30cm – 45cm)
Water Needs Average, High
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moisture Retentive, Poorly Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy, Evergreen
Native Plants United States, Northeast, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Southeast, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia
Tolerance Wet Soil
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Bog Gardens, Ponds and Streams

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Maja Dumat, Doug McGrady, Flickr

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 5 – 8
Plant Type Bulbs, Perennials
Exposure Partial Sun, Shade
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Height 10" – 2' (25cm – 60cm)
Spread 1' – 2' (30cm – 60cm)
Spacing 12" – 18" (30cm – 45cm)
Water Needs Average, High
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moisture Retentive, Poorly Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy, Evergreen
Native Plants United States, Northeast, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Southeast, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia
Tolerance Wet Soil
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Bog Gardens, Ponds and Streams

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