Chelone lyonii 'Hot Lips'

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Photo Courtesy of Walters Gardens, Inc.
 Common Name: Turtlehead-Pink

Short spikes of rosy-pink flowers that look like a turtle's head with its mouth open delight children and other passersby in late summer and early fall. This is the kind of plant that makes a great backdrop for shorter plants in the garden all season long, and suddenly catches everyone's attention when it's in bloom.

Chelone is a long-blooming perennial that thrives in moist woodland conditions. This variety has bronze-green foliage that turns a deeper green than the species, but is equally as showy. The upright, red stems provide additional interest throughout the season.

Origin: Native Cultivar


  36-40 Inches
  24-30 Inches
Flower Color:
  Pink shades
Foliage Color:
  Green shades
Hardiness Zone:
Find Your Zone
Sun or Shade?:
  Full sun (> 6 hrs. direct sun)
  Part shade (4-6 hrs. direct sun)
Wet or dry?:
  Average water needs
  Consistent water needs
Want to see wings?:
  Attracts butterflies
How fast should it grow?:
When should it bloom?:
  Late summer
  Early fall
How's your soil?:
  Average Soil
Sweet or Sour Soil?:
  Acidic Soil (pH < 7.0)
  Neutral Soil (pH = 7.0)
What's your garden style?:
  Rain Garden


Bog plant
Border plants
Cut flower or foliage
Mass Planting

Homeowner Growing & Maintenance Tips:

Native to eastern North America, these plants thrive along streams and ponds where the water supply remains constant. However, they have also proven to be adaptable to normal garden conditions, where they will be long-lived and dependable.

Plant Chelone in full sun if the soil is constantly moist or wet. In average moisture conditions, it is better to site these plants in partial shade. Rich organic soil is best. Don't worry if you don't see these plants popping up in early spring--they are late risers. They quickly make up for this, however, and even benefit from being pinched back in early summer. This will result in fuller, bushier plants.

Divisions can be made in spring or fall if desired. One reader reported an alternative method of propagation: Take cuttings in spring and root them in a vase of water in a sunny window. They take several weeks to root, then plant them outside.


Common/Botanical Name
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Common Name: Grass-Ornamental
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Common Name: Cardinal Flower
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Common Name: Ligularia-Bigleaf
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Rodgersia pinnata 'Hercules'
Common Name: Rodger's Flower-Featherleaf
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Common Name: Astilbe-Hybrid
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Anemone tomentosa 'Robustissima'
Common Name: Anemone-Grapeleaf
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Common Name: Hosta
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While every effort has been made to describe this plant accurately, please keep in mind that the height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates throughout the country. The description of this plant was written based on our experience growing it in Michigan (USDA hardiness zone 5) and on numerous outside resources.