How to Grow Chelone Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Snake Head, Turtle Head, and Balmony

The Chelone plant is a hardy perennial.

It grows in height from 90 cm to 1.8 m, and flowers in late summer with white or pink flowers atop stiff stems.

Its height makes it an ideal plant for growing at the back of borders.

Common names for this plant include Snake head, Balmony, and Turtle head.

Chelone glabra
Chelone glabra by Superior National Forest.

chelone obliqua
Chelone obliqua (Purple Turtleheads) by John B.

Chelone Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Snake Head, Turtle Head, Balmony.
Family: Plantaginaceae.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
Height: 36 to 72 inches (90 to 180 cm).
Native: Northern America.

Growing Region: Zones 3 to 9.
Flowers: Towards the end of summer.
Flower Details: White, pink. Flowers have a similar shape to that of turtles.
Foliage: Herbaceous. Dark green. Opposite. Simple. Oblong. Toothed.

Sow Outside: Seeds: Cover. Following the last frost. Spacing 8 to 14 inches (20 to 35 cm).
Sow Inside: Germination time: two weeks to two months. Temperature 60 to 65°F (16 to 18°C). Seven or eight weeks in advance. Transplant outdoors following the last frost or in autumn.

Requirements: Full sunlight or light shade. Soil pH 5.0 to 7.0. Rich soil, moist soil. Chelone is best grown in an area that has good air flow in order to prevent mildew. Regular watering. Light spring and autumn leaf mold mulch. Cut back to the ground once flowering has completed. Propagate: by taking cuttings in the spring or summer. Or by dividing at the beginning of spring in cold areas, or autumn in warmer areas.
Miscellaneous: Food plant for the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly; sawflies; and Flea beatles. The plant is also attractive to deer. Many uses in traditional medicine.

How to Grow Chelone plants such as Snake head

If planning to grow Snake head / Chelone outdoors, then it should be sown on the surface and lightly covered after the last frost of Spring.

Plants should grow in a sunny or partially shaded area of the garden that has a rich and moist soil of pH 5 to 7.

When starting indoors then the process should start about 7 or 8 weeks before they are to be put out; they can be transplanted either in the early spring or the autumn.

Seedlings typically take about two to seven weeks to germinate at about 15 degrees Centigrade.

The seedlings should be planted out with a spacing of about 20 to 30cm.

Caring for Chelone in the Garden

Once growing, Chelone plants should be watered regularly; following flowering they should be cut down to the ground.

If more plants are required then cuttings can be taken in the late spring or summer.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Chelone plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ Plantaginaceae growing guides: How to grow Purple Bell Vine and ?Veronica plants.