What’s Doing the Blooming? Turtlehead

Chelone 'Hot Lips' Turtlehead
Chelone ‘Hot Lips’ Turtlehead

Chelone lyonii ‘Hot Lips’, also known as Turtlehead, is a native cultivar favored for its long bloom in late summer and fall. The compact spikes of rosy-pink turtlehead flowers resemble just that. A turtle’s head with an open mouth. This accurate and descriptive name makes it a fun plant to introduce to children. Dark green leaves are clean and disease free all summer, providing a lovely backdrop for other shorter perennials.


Turtlehead grows to be about 36” tall and 24-30” Wide. They thrive in part shade and moist woodland settings. Locations in full sun are also acceptable but regular watering will be necessary to keep the plants full and vigorous. Turtlehead pairs well with perennials that enjoy similar growing conditions such as, Ligulara, Rodgersia, Astilbe and Hosta. They are excellent planted along streams and ponds and in raingardens.