Scutellaria suffrutescens
Common Name: skullcap
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Native Range: Mexico
Zone: 7 to 9
Height: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: May to October
Bloom Description: Pink to rose
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual, Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil

Culture

Grow in dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates some light afternoon shade. Performs well in hot and humid climates. Evergreen to semi-evergreen in its frost-free Mexican habitat where it will often self-seed to form a dense ground cover. Some above-ground stems usually die back in winter in the northern parts of its growing range, but roots will push up new stems in spring. Winter hardy to USDA Zone 7, but may survive some winters in Zone 6 if sited in sheltered locations with winter protection. Self-seeding is not expected in cold winter climates. May be grown as an annual.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Scutellaria suffrutescens, commonly known as Mexican skullcap, is a low-growing, woody-based, herbaceous perennial in the mint family. It features tiny, tubular, two-lipped, snapdragon-like, pink to rose flowers (to 3/4”) which bloom non-stop from May to October atop square stems clad with small, oval-rounded, thyme-like, gray-green foliage. Plants typically grow in a dense but compact spreading mound to 8” tall and to 15” wide. This skullcap is native to northern Mexico. There is some evidence to support plants also being native to Texas.

Genus name comes from the Latin word scutella meaning a small dish or saucer in reference to the shape of the persistent calyx after the flowers fade.

Specific epithet means woody-based in reference to the plant’s ability to persist over winter without dying down.

Common name of skullcap is in reference to the shape of the flowers and seed capsules which purportedly resemble the military helmets worn by men in the Middle Ages.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Powdery mildew and leaf spot may occur. Watch for aphids.

Garden Uses

Sun-loving ground cover for border fronts, rock gardens, dry slopes, walkways and edging. Spill over walls. Xeric beds. Mixed containers. Annual.