The Clarkia wildflowers actually get their name from William Clark of the Lewis and Clark expedition. The plant was discovered by Clark on the Pacific Coast of North America and he actually brought back specimens when he returned. They didn’t really catch on until 1823 when another explorer known as William Davis, who rediscovered them and distributed the seeds. Ever since then, clarkia has been a staple of cottage and cutting gardens. The Clarkia plants grow to between one and three feet tall and spread eight to twelve inches. The Clarkia flowers actually bloom in summer or fall, and sometimes in winter in mild climates. Most the flowers are doubles or semi-doubles and they have frilly, crepe-like petals. The flowers come in a wide range of colors. The Clarkia plant care is a snap, and once you plant them in the garden there is very little to do but enjoy the plant. The Clarkia flowers look great in many garden situations. Consider growing the Clarkia flowers in cutting or cottage gardens, mass plantings, borders, wildflower meadows, containers, or on the edges of woodlands.   


How to Plant Clarkia Seeds

You probably won’t find the cell packs of clarkia at any garden center because they don’t really transplant very well. Gardeners in warm areas can easily plant the clarkia seeds in fall. In cold climates they can be planted in early spring. Sow the clarkia seeds densely and then thin the plants to four to six inches apart. If you want to try starting the clarkia seeds indoors you can easily use peat pots to make transplanting easier. Sow the clarkia seeds 4 to 6 weeks before the average last frost date. Press the seeds onto the surface of the soil, but the seeds need light to germinate so don’t bury them. Once the seeds come up you can find a cool location for them until they are ready to be transplant outdoors.


How to Care for Clarkia Plants

The Clarkia flowers actually need a location with full sun or partial shade and also a very well-drained soil. The plants don’t like overly rich or wet soil. Make sure you water them regularly until the plants are established. Afterward, the plants are very drought tolerant and they don’t need fertilizer.

The Clarkia plants sometimes have weak stems. If you space them four to six inches apart, the plant can lean on each other for support. You can also stick a few twiggy branches into the soil around the Clarkia plants while they are young for support later on.


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