As soon as temperatures begin to rise at the start of summer, godetia flowers come into their peak, living up to the plant’s nickname of farewell to spring. This plant has been reclassified into the genus Clarkia, a name that references Corps of Discovery expedition leader William Clark, who noticed them growing in alpine meadows in California and the Pacific Northwest. He collected seeds to share and now you can grow them in your garden, too.
Depending on the species, godetia's papery flowers emerge in clusters on the tips of stems or along the length at each node. These flowers tend to have four petals that open to form a cup-shape saucer that closes at night. They can be found in shimmering pinks as well as white, coral, and salmon. Many varieties also feature intricate petal markings, such as blotches or rims of pale shades.
Godetia Care Must-Knows
Although seldom sold as plants at garden centers, godetias are easy to start from seed and blossom in 30 to 60 days. Sow seeds directly where you want the plants (they don't transplant well), and don't cover them with soil because they actually need light to germinate. If you do want to start them indoors, sow them in compostable pots to avoid disturbing the roots as much as possible and sow 6-8 weeks before your area's last frost date.
Because they are native to coastal mountains that typically have rocky soils, godeitas prefer well-drained soil. When young, they benefit from supplemental watering. But they are drought-tolerant once established so they work well in rock gardens or other dry areas. They are prone to rot in wet soils.
Although godetias tolerate a bit of shade, they perform best in full sun. Otherwise they tend to flop over, especially taller varieties grown for cut flowers. When grown in southern or warm climates, godetias may struggle through the heat and humidity, so try planting them in part shade to help extend their bloom time, but plant them close together or with other plants they can lean on for support.
Because godetias grow so well from seed, you will often find that they reseed themselves in the garden year after year. Sometimes this seeding can be vigorous and require thinning. If you want to prevent reseeding, deadhead flowers as soon as flowering is finished.
Godetia Companion Plants
From tiny, cheerful Johnny jump-ups to the stunning 3-inch blooms of Majestic Giant pansies, the genus Viola has a spectacular array of delightful plants for the spring garden. They're must-haves to celebrate the first days of spring since they don't mind cold weather and can even take a little snow and ice! They're pretty planted in masses in the ground, but also cherished for the early color they bring to pots, window boxes, and other containers. By summer, pansies bloom less and their foliage starts to brown. It's at this time that you'll have to be tough and tear them out and replant with warm-season annuals, such as marigolds or petunias. But that's part of their charm—they are an ephemeral celebration of spring!
Few gardens should be without the easy charm of snapdragons. They get their name from the fact that you can gently squeeze the sides of the intricately shaped flower and see the jaws of a dragon head snap closed. The blooms come in gorgeous colors, including some with beautiful color variations on each flower. Plus, snapdragons are an outstanding cut flower. Gather a dozen or more in a small vase and you'll have one of the prettiest bouquets around. Snapdragons are especially useful because they're a cool-season annual, coming into their own in early spring when the warm-season annuals, such as marigolds and impatiens, are just being planted. They're also great for fall color. Plant snapdragon in early spring, a few weeks before your region's last frost date. Deadhead regularly for best bloom and fertilize regularly. Snapdragons often self-seed in the landscape if not deadheaded, so they come back year after year, though the colors from hybrid plants will often will be muddy looking. In mild regions, the entire plant may overwinter if covered with mulch.
Stock offers a wonderfully spicy, distinctive scent. Plant it in spring several weeks before your region's last frost date—this annual thrives in cool temperatures and stops blooming once hot weather arrives. It's especially wonderful in window boxes and planters at nose level, where its sometimes subtle effect can best be appreciated. Stock is slightly spirelike and comes in a wide range of colors. It makes a great cut flower, perfuming bouquets as well as the border. It grows best in full sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil.