Bring the Outdoors Home

Turtlehead | Plant Profile

Turtlehead (Chelone glabra) are clump forming perennials with thick upright stems that support large, white, two-lipped flowers. They are native to swamps and damp areas of the American midwest. The name originates from the flowers’ resemblance to turtle heads. Butterflies are attracted to the large flowers.

Turtlehead prefers fertile, medium to wet soils in part shade.

Turtlehead are attractive in shaded or boggy areas. The white flowers can be particularly attractive along the banks of rivers, ponds, or lakes. They can bring height to damp wildflower or pollinator gardens.


Turtlehead Characteristics

Turtlehead are medium sized perennials with unique flower clusters that prefer damp soils. When located in areas with direct sunlight, a layer of mulch can help to maintain consistent soil moisture. When grown in heavily shaded areas, the rigid stems may fall and should be given some support. Cutting back the stems to a shorter height in spring can reduce the overall height and may help the stems to remain upright in heavy shade. These perennials spread through the roots that slowly creep outwards.

Turtlehead rarely encounter serious disease or insect issues. Mildews can occur in dryer soils with poor air circulation.

USDA Climate Zone
Zones 3 - 8
2.00 - 3.00'
1.50 - 2.50'
Bloom Time
August - October
Medium - Wet
Part Shade
Deer Resistant?