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Plant Spotlight: Helonias Bullata aka Swamp Pink

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Helonias bullata or Swamp Pink is a rare and endangered plant species. Found in bogs and swamps it is most prevalent in New Jersey but can also be scene in New York, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Swamp Pink is a perennial and one of the first blooming flowers in spring, flowering from March to May.

Swamp Pink grows in large bunches presenting a magnificent display that is easily spotted where present. The bright pink and blue accented flowers are densely clustered at the tip of the long stem. Growing to heights of 5 feet but generally this plant remains around 35 inches during flowering.

The fragrant and brightly colored flowers of the Swamp Pink are great for attracting bees, butterflies, and birds. Unfortunately this native wildflower is losing its habitat due to urbanization, agricultural development, sewage discharge, soil erosion and pollution. Other threats to this beautiful plant are trampling and collection.

The New York Botanical Garden has fully sponsored the plant and will be featuring it in their new 3 and half acre Native Plant Garden opening in 2012. You can join the effort of saving the Swamp Pink and many more endangered plants by adopting a population. You can also help by not posting locations of naturally occurring populations on the internet. It is illegal to collect seeds or plants in their natural habitat. If you are interested in growing your own Swamp Pink check out open-pollinated seed exchange groups in your area and online. Here are a few requirements to successfully grow Swamp Pink.

Zone: 4a to 8b

Experience Level: Expert

Watering: Requires consistently moist soil, must not let soil dry out between watering

Location: Best planted in water gardens, bogs, and wooded wetlands

Sun: Needs a thin canopy to provide adequate shade