Clarkia - Garden Basics - Flower - Annual

(Clarkia amoena)

Named for the explorer Captain William Clark of the famous Lewis and Clark expedition, the clarkias inhabit dry open slopes in the forests of the Northwest, from California north to British Columbia. It is a free bloomer in cooler climates, but does poorly in hot areas. Plants grow 2 to 3 feet tall and bear an abundance of delicate blossoms. The large satiny blossoms, 2 to 4 inches wide, are white, pink, red or lilac. They bloom from early to midsummer and are followed by tapering seed pods filled with many small brown seeds. The species has been hybridized for garden use into double-blossomed and dwarf forms. Clarkia makes an excellent cut flower.

Clarkia thrives in a Western Coniferous Woodland environment. They need a light, sandy soil and do well in full sun or partial shade. Seeds germinate best in cool weather. In the West, they should be sown in the fall during the early part of the rainy season; in the East, in the early spring as soon as the ground can be worked. Since they don't transplant well, sow seeds where plants are to remain. Thin seedlings to stand 9 inches apart. When plants are about 6 inches high, pinch back the tops to encourage branching. Water moderately, keeping the soil moist but not soggy until they begin to flower; then water less frequently. Expect flowers 90 days after sowing seeds.

  • Type
  • Propagation
  • Light
    full sun or dappled shade
  • Flower Color
    shades of pink
  • Bloom Time
    early to midsummer
  • Height
    2-3 feet
  • Width
    9 inches
  • Soil Requirements
    well drained
  • Zones
    does best in cool climates
  • Uses
    border, cutflowers, rock gardens

About this Author