Indian Pink

Indian Pink Spigelia marilandica
Rob Cardillo.

Indian Pink Overview

Description Indian pink is an easy-to-grow and often underappreciated North American native wildflower that deserves a place in more shaded yards. Gardeners who know the plant love it for its reliable show of flowers in late spring every year.   The colorful trumpet-shape blossoms are yellow inside and red outside. These blossoms stand out from across the yard and attract a variety of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Indian pink is one of the few shade-loving wildflowers you can plant that reliably attracts hummingbirds. Though it attracts pollinators, it is also relatively deer- and rabbit-resistant.  
Genus Name Spigelia marilandica
Common Name Indian Pink
Plant Type Perennial
Light Part Sun, Shade
Height 1 to 3 feet
Width 8 to 18 inches
Flower Color Yellow
Season Features Spring Bloom
Special Features Attracts Birds, Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Propagation Division, Seed

Planting Indian Pink

Enjoy this no-fuss wildflower in shaded beds and borders. It's eye-catching when planted by itself in mass plantings where it's practically guaranteed to attract hummingbirds. But it also pairs well with a wide variety of other woodland favorites, including lungwort, coralbells, and columbine.

Though it's a wildflower and lends itself to lush, causal plantings (like cottage gardens), you can also easily incorporate it into tropical-inspired gardens thanks to its festive red-and-yellow flowers. It's a natural for woodland gardens, as well. Don't forget to include Indian pink in your butterfly garden, too.

Indian Pink Care

Indian pink thrives in partial to full shade. It will tolerate some afternoon sun but can't be allowed to dry out, especially in hot summer weather. In sites with full shade or some morning sun with afternoon shade, Indian pink is somewhat drought-tolerant once it becomes established. This makes it an excellent choice for growing beneath large trees, such as oaks and maples.

It grows best in moist, well-drained soil that's rich in organic matter. If your ground has a high sand or clay content, amend liberally with organic matter—such as compost, coconut coir, or peat moss—at planting time. A 2- to 3-inch-deep layer of mulch over the ground in summer also helps Indian pink thrive. Mulch helps keep the soil cool and moist, suppresses weeds, and encourages beneficial microorganisms, such as earthworms, that help build healthy soil.

Indian pink doesn't require pruning except to remove dead stems killed by frost. You can cut back Indian pink right away if you like your yard to have a clean look in winter or leave it standing to catch snow and provide winter interest. Either way is fine—it depends on which look you prefer.

Planting Companions

Plant Indian pink with columbine if you want to attract hummingbirds. You can't go wrong with the combination of these two North American wildflowers. Coralbells and Indian pink are a natural combination in shade gardens. They like the same growing conditions and both attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Or plant with fragrant, spring-blooming woodland phlox, a colorful and similarly easy-care companion for Indian pink.

Check out these perfect perennial pairings.

Plant Indian Pink With:

pink heuchera coralbells with path in background
Peter Krumhardt

Exciting new selections with incredible foliage patterns have put coralbells on the map. Previously enjoyed mainly for their spires of dainty reddish flowers, coralbells are now grown as much for the unusual mottling and veining of different-color leaves. The low clumps of long-stemmed evergreen or semi-evergreen lobed foliage make coralbells fine groundcover plants. They enjoy humus-rich, moisture-retaining soil. Beware of heaving in areas with very cold winters.

Hosta Blooms
Julie Maris Semarco

This plant hardly grown 40 years ago is now one of the most commonly grown garden plants. But hosta has earned its spot in the hearts of gardeners -- it's among the easiest plants to grow, as long as you have some shade and ample rainfall.Hostas vary from tiny plants suitable for troughs or rock gardens to massive 4-foot clumps with heart-shape leaves almost 2 feet long that can be puckered, wavy-edged, white or green variegated, blue-gray, chartreuse, emerald-edged -- the variations are virtually endless. Hostas in new sizes and touting new foliage features seem to appear each year. This tough, shade-loving perennial, also known as plaintain lily, blooms with white or purplish lavender funnel-shape or flared flowers in summer. Some are intensely fragrant. Hostas are a favorite of slug and deer.

Close up of purple and white Columbine
Mike Jensen

Perfect for cottage and woodland gardens, old-fashioned columbines are available in almost all colors of the rainbow. Intricate little flowers, they are most commonly a combination of red, peach, and yellow but also blues, whites, pure yellows, and pinks; they look almost like folded paper lanterns.Columbine thrives in sun or partial shade in moist, well-drained soil. Plants tend to be short-lived but self-seed readily, often creating natural hybrids with other nearby columbines. If you want to prevent self-seeding, deadhead plants after bloom.

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