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CLARKIA amoena

Image of Clarkia amoena

Michael Charters,



Botanical Name

CLARKIA amoena

Plant Common Name

Farewell-to-Spring, Herald-of-summer, Satin Flower

General Description

A fast-growing annual wildflower, herald-of-summer bears pinkish lavender flowers with papery petals from early to late summer. However, it can be grown as a cool season annual any time of year as long as temperatures are mild and weather fair. It is native to coastal British Columbia southward to northern California where it happily grows along open, upland bluffs and slopes. It is adapted to sharply drained, nutrient poor soils and is both drought and salt tolerant.

Two natural forms of this annual exist. One is upright in habit, while the other is shorter and is more low spreading. The stems carry lance-shaped green leaves, sometimes with toothed edges. Upright flower buds open to show four-petaled, cup-shaped blossoms. They are usually pink to lavender with crimson blotches on each petal. These satiny flowers occur in loose clusters at the stem tips and are largely pollinated by insects but hummingbirds will visit them, too. The dry, capsule fruits are filled with seeds that scatter to the soil below. The seeds either germinate in autumn to overwinter as seedlings or germinate the following spring.

Grow farewell-to-spring in full to dappled sun. This plant grows does not grow well where weather is extremely hot and humid, and it does not transplant well, so sow seeds where plants are to grow the entire season. Scatter seeds in a well-drained sand or sandy loam that is not overly fertile, though wild specimens are also known to grow on well-drained soils rich in clay. Neutral to slightly acid or slightly alkaline soils are best. Rich soils promote leafy growth at the expense of flowering. Keep the soil evenly moist as the plants grow, but once flower buds are seen, keep the soil drier. Plant this pretty wildflower in naturalistic flower borders, coastal landscapes or rock gardens. Plant in large sweeps for the prettiest display.

Various series exist, grouping cultivars with similar heights or color intensities. Examples include the Grace and Satin Series. In the United States it's difficult to obtain seeds of a lone variety, but mixes are available. In Europe the opposite tends to be true.


  • AHS Heat Zone

    7 - 1

  • Sunset Zone

    A2, A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type


  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun

  • Height

    12"-24" / 30.5cm - 61.0cm

  • Width

    8"-18" / 20.3cm - 45.7cm

  • Bloom Time

    Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer

  • Native To

    United States, Northwestern United States, California, Canada

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH


  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought, Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Very Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit


  • Seasonal Interest


Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest


  • Flower Color

    White, Pink, Light Pink, Crimson, Lavender

  • Flower Color Modifier


  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Light Green, Blue Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Light Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Light Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Light Green, Gray Green

  • Fragrant Flowers


  • Fragrant Fruit


  • Fragrant Foliage


  • Bark or Stem Fragrant


  • Flower Petal Number


  • Repeat Bloomer


  • Showy Fruit


  • Edible Fruit


  • Showy Foliage


  • Foliage Texture


  • Foliage Sheen


  • Evergreen


  • Showy Bark


Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bedding Plant, Cutflower, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns


  • Invasive


  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing