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Chesapeake native flowers: a perennial pink summer palette

Pink flowers brighten shady and sunny locales and harmonize with blues and purples, and soften yellows, reds and oranges. These perennial pink flowers all take sun or part shade though some do better in one rather than the other and that is noted.  These are listed in order of bloom time and take you through the summer.

Rosa Carolina

These native roses are awash with pink blooms in May or June depending on your location.  The shrubs are suckering and bloom with a more informal, simpler rose than hybrid roses. They can grow in part shade or full sun but flower best in full sun. These roses also produce red rose hips in fall.  These are not repeat blooming roses.


Sun loving pink butterfly weeds begin blooming in mid-June in the middle of the Chesapeake watershed and typically continue through July. On the left, is common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca).  The pale pink spheres at eye level are really interesting and different.  Common milkweed will grow in dry soils and reaches 6′ tall in a place it likes.  In a place it likes, it may also spread aggressively.  On the right is the more refined, shorter  swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) which grows in average or moist soils.


Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) begin blooming in June and continue through August and often later. They are easy to grow, adapt to a range of soils including clay and do well in sun or part shade. They can grow in dry or average soil.  So easy!

Joe pye weed

Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum), a sun loving, part shade tolerating, tall perennial blooms from late June through August depending on where in the watershed you are.  The pinkish blooms are butterfly magnets and make a great alternative to butterfly bush. These are tall, growing to 6 or 7 feet.  If you need a smaller plant for your garden, there is a cultivar called Joe Pye weed ‘Little Joe’ (Eutrochium dubnium “Little Joe’) which only grows 4′ high.

Native Plants: Pink Turtlehead Blooming
Native Pink Turtlehead Blooming

Pink turtlehead

Pink turtlehead (Chelone lyonii) blooms in August in shade which is a great thing.  Experts say it also will grow well in full sun so long as it has moist soil. Wherever you grow it, it does need moist soil.

Native Obedient Plant

Obedient plant

Obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana) grows to 3 to 4′ in full sun and blooms from June through September. The photo above was taken outside a church in Washington DC in mid-September.  It’s easy to grow with average water and soil needs.

Native flowers can give you a positively pink summer!


We want you to be as excited about planting Chesapeake natives as we are. “Plant This or That” gives you a native alternative to popular plants. Other posts highlight really fabulous fauna native to the Chesapeake.

Nuts for Natives, avid gardener, Baltimore City admirer, Chesapeake Bay Watershed restoration enthusiast, and public service fan.

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