Plant of the Week: Hoary Skullcap

Tucked away in the northernmost section of the High Line, this native wildflower puts on a stunning display in the mid-to late summer months. Blooming effervescently with its pale lavender and deep purple flowers, Scutellaria incana, common name hoary skullcap, consistently attracts a wide variety of pollinators and beneficial insects during this time of the season. Usually teeming with bumblebees and butterflies that meticulously forage for nectar, the rigid structure of each corolla allows for plenty of insects to occupy a single each plant at once; making it a great plant to be photographed on the High Line.

Photo by Ayinde Listhrop

Scutellaria incana is a resilient wildflower with a hardiness of 4-9. Stretching the full length of the eastern United States, from Texas to New York, Wisconsin to Florida, Scutellaria incana can be found growing along various geographical features; such as streams, rivers, woodland edges, prairies and meadows.

Photo by Ayinde Listhrop

Thus said, Scutellaria incana can grow naturally in a wide range of soil compositions; however it tends to thrive in dry, sandy soils that drain well and are exposed to full sun. Under these conditions, Scutellaria incana can grow upwards of 3 feet tall with a spread of 12-16 inches, making it an ideal plant for a variety of different planting schematics. Typically incorporated in native plant, cottage and prairie gardens, Scutellaria incana is commonly used in perennial borders as a companion to Appalachian sedge and Early goldenrod due to their resistance to pests and deer.

Photo by Ayinde Listhrop

When planting this wildflower, make sure you space individual plugs 12-15 inches apart, in consideration of its size at maturity. Otherwise, these plants seem to take care of themselves once established; just water periodically to ensure a healthy growth rate.

You can find Scutellaria incana located in the 34th Street Entry Plaza section of the High Line, between 11th and 12th Avenue on 34th Street.

The High Line's planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew up between rail tracks after the trains stopped running in the 1980s. Today, the High Line includes more than 500 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees – each chosen for their hardiness, adaptability, diversity, and seasonal variation in color and texture. Some of the species that originally grew on the High Line's rail bed are reflected in the park landscape today. Every week we share one of our gardeners' current favorites with you.

Our horticultural team counts on members and friends like you to help keep the High Line beautiful and thriving. Join our community of supporters who play an essential role in the High Line's most important gardening projects.

TD Bank is the Presenting Green Sponsor of the High Line.

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