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Clarkia (CA Native)

Clarkia p. quadrivulnera 'Four Spot Clarkia'

We're nearing the end of spring and if you’ve been on a hike or drive recently, you may have noticed showy masses of pink color on the hillsides. There’s a good chance that what you’re seeing is clarkia! California is home to 40 species from this genus. They’re usually one of the last species of wildflowers to bloom in the spring with one variety even named “Farewell to Spring.”

Clarkia purpurea 'Winecup Clarkia'

Clarkia’s are a California native that was first discovered and collected by William Clark, one of the two leaders from the Lewis and Clark expedition (hence, the name clarkia). This annual is in the Evening Primrose family and grows naturally in open, grassy or shrubland places such as the coast, the Central Valley, and the Sierra foothills. They can grow up to 3.5’ tall and 1’ wide. These bowl-shaped flowers have four petals in shades of pink, purple, or deep wine red. The spear-shaped leaves are medium green in color tinged with red on the tips.

Another stunning color combination of Clarkia p. quadrivulnera 'Four Spot Clarkia'

Like many California natives, these are very hearty and adaptable plants that are easy to grow and require little maintenance. Plant clarkia in well-draining soil and water regularly until they become established. Once fully established, they are drought tolerant and don’t require fertilizer or much water, which makes them very garden friendly in a drought-stricken state. They're popular with the locals - bees and butterflies love them! Clarkia's make a great mixed border in your garden and are a great addition next to other natives like poppies, lupine, and tidy tips!

Here at the nursery, we’ve been growing three varieties of clarkia from seed! (Clarkia amoena ‘Farewell to Spring,’ Clarkia p. quadrivulnera ‘Four Spot Clarkia,’ and Clarkia purpurea ‘Winecup Clarkia’). From seed to first germ, these plants have had steady and robust growth. Right on cue with their wild growing counterparts, they are coming into bloom in 4.5” rounds and are ready to find a home in your garden!


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