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Pink skullcap (Scutellaria suffrutescens). Photo: City of Austin, TX

Pink skullcap (Scutellaria suffrutescens). Photo: City of Austin, TX

Scutellaria suffrutescens

Pink skullcap

Pink skullcap is a small evergreen shrub that forms a low mound of bright green foliage about 8" tall and 1-2' wide.  Waves of pink snapdragon-like flowers cover the plant in summer and fall.  It's a great plant to use as edging along a path, as a small scale groundcover, in containers or spilling over the edge of a retaining wall.

Plant name
The plant's common name comes from the skullcap-shaped seed capsules that remain after the flowers have died.  The specific epithet "suffrutescens" means "having a base that is somewhat woody and does not die down each year."

Origin: Native habitat and range
Pink skullcap is native to three northern states in Mexico - Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas.

Growth habit, foliage and flowers
Pink skullcap forms a dense, low-growing mound of bright green foliage about 8-10" tall and up to 2' wide.  Reminiscent of snapdragons, the tubular, two-lipped flowers are densely borne in short spikes and bloom from spring through fall and sometimes through winter as well.  The small green leaves are paired on square stems. 

Exposure: Where to plant it
Pink skullcap's an adaptable plant; it's tolerant of full sun in both coastal and hotter inland areas.  It's also happy in light shade.

Soil
In its native habitat, pink skullcap typically grows in soils that drain readily.  Happily for us gardeners, in cultivation it will tolerate a wide range of soil types including sand and clay.  Avoid planting it in a location that's completely waterlogged for prolonged periods though.

Watering
Once established, pink skullcap will survive in most areas on rainfall alone.

Pests and Diseases
Pink skullcap doesn't seem to be prone to any pests or diseases

Wildlife
Pink skullcap's a good addition to a habitat garden; it attracts hummingbirds and bees.

Propagation
Stem cuttings from semi-ripe wood root easily with a rooting hormone.



Pink skullcap Growing and Maintenance Tips

Pink skullcap usually isn't affected by any pests or diseases.

No pruning is usually necessary; perhaps just a light shearing once a year in early spring to encourage new shoots to sprout and to keep the plant nice and bushy.


Height:

8 in

Spread:

1-2 ft

Spacing:

2-3 ft

USDA Hardiness Zone:

7

Scutellaria suffrutescens Characteristics

Attributes

  • Salt Tolerant
  • Long Blooming
  • Evergreen
  • Wind resistant

Flower color

  • Pink

Foliage color

  • Green / Blue-green

Growth habit (plant shape)

  • Mounding

Exposure

  • Sunny all day - Coast
  • Sunny all day - Inland
  • Morning sun
  • Light or dappled shade

Season of interest (flowering)

  • Spring
  • Fall
  • Summer

Season of interest (foliage)

  • Year round

Water requirements

  • None
  • None - Low

Critter resistance

  • Deer resistant
  • Rabbit resistant

Wildlife appeal

  • Attracts beneficial insects
  • Attracts hummingbirds
  • Attracts bees

Suggested uses

  • Median strip
  • Firescaping
  • Rock garden
  • Groundcover
  • Green roof
  • Under CA native oaks

Origin

  • Central America

Plants that work well with Scutellaria suffrutescens

Garland's Gold yucca Garland's Gold yucca (Yucca 'Garland's Gold')
de la Mina verbena de la Mina verbena (Verbena lilacina 'de la Mina')
San Bruno Mountain golden aster San Bruno Mountain golden aster (Heterotheca sessiliflora ssp. bolanderi 'San Bruno Mountain')
Black Adder phormium Black Adder phormium (Phormium 'Black Adder')
Blue flax lilly, Paroo lily, Blueberry lily Blue flax lilly, Paroo lily, Blueberry lily (Dianella caerulea)
Aussie Box Aussie Box (Westringia fruticosa)
Maillette English lavender Maillette English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia 'Maillette')
Sonoran Sunset hyssop Sonoran Sunset hyssop (Agastache cana 'Sinning')