The Native Plant Store can Now be Found Here

  • This page will remain accessible as a library page until I have all the species moved to the new page and all the quirks worked out in the new software so it can function as a searchable library.
  • Please see the Using the Plant Library  page  for some tips on how to make the most of the information in this existing library to select species for creating a healthy native plant community suited to the conditions of your site.

Scutellaria lateriflora, Blue Skullcap

Scutellaria lateriflora 

Blue Skullcap

  • Full sun to part shade
  • Average to high moisture settings
  • 18" to 24" tall. Fast spreading (see description below)
  • Native to Ontario, Thrives in wet meadows, shorelines and below tall species like Joe-Pye-Weed
  • An 'Underplant' species, these can grow and thrive below and between taller plants, acting as a living mulch 

Often described as a mild sedative or nerve tonic, Skullcap is often grown as an herbal medicine. Their efficacy in this role is still debated in research and literature, but they have a role to play in a native plant garden either way.

If you are familiar with how I talk about native species, you have likely noticed that I’m generally pretty chill when it comes to a plant’s capacity to spread and crowd other species. That their nature isn’t the issue, expectations that plants should stay in place is. I hold to that view but I will offer a caution in regards to this species. Anecdotes on the capacity for Mint to spread through a space faster than can be managed by a gardener, eventually overwhelming all efforts to grow anything other than a verdant, fragrant patch of that single species, are often shared as cautionary stories for new gardeners.

This species has a similar capacity to spread into all available space.

Like their other Mint family relations, these are popular with small pollinators and nectar feeders. Their foliage also hosted a large population of orange and black leaf beetles a couple of years ago. Beyond identification, I find a lot of online sites have very little information about the ecosystem role of the less charismatic species, so I can’t tell you about the role that those Phyllobrotica limbate filled in the ecosystem, but I’m sure that there is one. The Skullcap bounced back the following year without missing a beat, as full and verdant as ever.

Blue Skullcap grows to between 1’ and 2’ tall and tends to stay quite green and lush through the entire growing season, not yellowing until late September or early October, when the little packets of seeds ripen and dry.

They prefer a high moisture setting but are getting by in average garden conditions just fine. If I was recommending a native garden setting, I’d suggest one where they could become the living groundcover below and among other, moisture loving species. This could include Red Monarda, Obedient Plant, Swamp Rose-mallow, Canada Anemone, Canadian Bluejoint grass, Joe-Pye Weed, Giant Goldenrod, Common Boneset and Pink Swamp Milkweed, to name just a few.

The Ecosystem Companions for this Species list below shows species that Scullcap thrives below and around, as a living mulch layer and an early summer nectar source fol pollinators

Species that were not sown / aren't being sown for 2023 are marked with an * 
Species that are native to this continent, but not historically native to Ontario are marked with a ~ 
While it rarely comes up, I do reserve the right to limit plant quantities, mostly to help ensure that as many native plant gardens as possible become a reality