Claytonia virginica

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 2 Professionals
Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: spring beauty
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Montiaceae
Native Range: Eastern North America
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: White to pink
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: High
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy

Culture

Best grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers organically rich, moist, fertile soils. Plant corms 3” deep and space 3” apart in fall. Naturalizes easily by bulb offsets and self-seeding, and can be weedy in optimum growing conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Claytonia virginica, commonly called spring beauty, is a delicate, much-beloved, native Missouri spring wildflower that typically occurs statewide in rich, moist woodlands and valleys, meadows, prairies and somewhat dry upland woods (Steyermark). It is a low-growing spring ephemeral that features clusters of star-like, five-petaled, white to light pink flowers (to ¾” wide) with pink veins and pink anthers. Flowers bloom in April atop thin stems rising 4-6” tall at bloom time. Narrow, linear, grass-like, dark green leaves (usually in pairs). Foliage continues to grow after bloom and may eventually reach 9-12” tall before the leaves disappear in late spring as the plants go into dormancy. Small, potato-like, underground tubers (corms) are edible (chestnut-like flavor) and were in fact consumed by early Americans, but are time-consuming to collect in quantity sufficient for a meal.

Genus name honors John Clayton (1686-1773), who came to Virginia from England in 1705.

Specific epithet means of Virginia.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Spread and post-bloom dormancy can both be a blessing or a curse depending on where plants are sited.

Garden Uses

Mass in rock gardens, woodland gardens, meadows, naturalized areas or wildflower gardens. Also may be effectively naturalized in lawns in somewhat the same manner as spring crocus.