Turtlehead Seed (Chelone glabra) Quick Facts:
Plant turtlehead seeds to be host plants to Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly, nectars plant to many pollinators
Native to the eastern half of the US and Canada
Hardy in USDA zones 3-8
Medium to moist soil
White flowers bloom in fall
2-3 feet tall, 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 feet spread
Space 18-24 inches apart
Sow seeds in the fall or cold stratify for 120 days
Plant Turtlehead Seeds for Baltimore Checkerspot Butterflies!
So many common names for the White Turtlehead (Chelone Glabra)! Other names are Shellflower, Snake Head, Snake Mouth, Cod Head, Fish Mouth, Balmony or Bitter Herb. More important than having many names, it is the primary host plant for Baltimore Checkerspot butterflies. It is also a nectar source for butterflies, hummingbirds and bees.
|Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly Chrysalis.|
Source: Tom Potterfield reproduced under Creative Commons
How to Plant Turtlehead Seeds
For natural stratification, sow seeds in the fall. The seeds will take several months to germinate in the spring (even up to one year). The seeds require up to 120 days of cold stratification if you are unable to sow outside in the fall. To sow the seeds, gently press into the soil (they need light to germinate). If kept moist at 65°F, seeds should come up within 3-5 weeks. Sow the seeds or transplant seedlings to 18 inches apart. Remember the Turtlehead plant loves moisture. It is naturally found in wet meadows, forests, swamps, and coastal areas. When planting the seeds, keep in mind the desired soil conditions. The plant does well in partial shade. The plant is hardy from zones 3-8.
More Info on Turtlehead Plants
For more information on the plants, visit our Turtlehead Plant page.