Chelone – Shell Flower, Turtle Head, Snake Head, Perennials Guide to Planting Flowers


The Chelone is sometimes confused with the Bearded Tongue (Pentstemon), to which it is closely related. It is a late Summer plant, coming into bloom about the middle of August, and lasting for six or seven weeks. The Shell Flower (Chelone glabra) has clusters of flowers of a light creamy white. The plants grow about 3 feet tall. The Turtle Head (C. Lyonii) has rose-purple flowers which grow from a mass of deep green leaves. The flowers of Chelone are inflated and long, tube-shaped, somewhat resembling the Snapdragon.

Uses. Because of their season of bloom and their rather attractive colors, they make good plants for the border, or to plant along streams. S. N. Baxter suggests the Shasta Daisy as an effective foreground companion plant.

GENERAL. Chelones thrive best in moist or swampy places, in half shade. They are easy of culture. At blooming time, they should be fertilized or mulched deeply in order to conserve the moisture.

PROPAGATION. They are propagated from seeds, cuttings or divisions of the roots made in the Spring.

Chelone – Shell Flower, Turtle Head, Snake Head

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