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Close-up of the showy pink flower of Diamond Clarkia (Clarkia rhomboidea). One of many species of Pacific Northwest native wildflowers available at Sparrowhawk Native Plants, Native Plant Nursery in Portland, Oregon.

Diamond Clarkia

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Clarkia rhomboidea

Diamond Clarkia (aka forest clarkia or common clarkia) is an annual wildflower that is a special treat when intermixed in pollinator gardens and meadowscapes. It will emerge in spring, sending a dainty stem 1-3ft high, with sparse foliage. By early summer, you'll fall in love with it's breathtaking, bright-pink flowers composed of four diamond-shaped petals, often speckled with darker pink shades, and large anthers bearing striking blue-gray pollen. 

  • Plant type/canopy layer: annual, herbaceous plant
  • Size at maturity: 1 - 3’ tall 
  • Light requirements: sun, part sun/part shade
  • Moisture requirements: moist to dry soils
  • Bloom time: May - July 
  • Growth rate/ease: fast growing, easy to grow
  • Wildlife support: attracts and supports adult butterflies and large numbers of native bees, host plant for several species of native butterfly and moth larva including the incredible and giant Gallium Sphinx Moth (Hyles gallii).
  • Native habitat/range: Locally common in east and west-side forests of the Cascades, shrub-steppe, oak savanna, and disturbed sites (like post-burn) from British Columbia to California. At the north end of its range, it is found primarily in the Cascades, while in Oregon and CA it extends from the Cascades to the coast. Portland Plant List - yes.
  • Special features & uses: Indigenous peoples have sowed Clarkia species and harvested the seeds to grind for food.

Gardening with Diamond Clarkia: This a great plant for sunny to partly shady areas with medium to dry soils. Dainty and delicate with sparse foliage, Diamond Clarkia should find home butterfly/bee gardens, rock gardens, and meadowscapes where its exceptional flower can steal the show for a few weeks before the plant begins to die back entirely. Since it particularly thrives in disturbed sites, it has excellent potential in urban applications like new development with poor soils and parking strips.

Seed Packets Contain: approx 325 seeds

Seed Sowing instructions: Can be fall or spring sown. If spring sowing, cool temperatures may enhance germination so plant seed as early as possible. Spring sown plants may be smaller in stature than fall sown when they bloom. Sowing in situ vs. pots tends to produce sturdier, more robust plants.

Stratification: very short – if any

Planting depth: surface – do not cover

Seeding rate:

  • Broadcasting: approx 60 seeds/sq ft.
  • Small pots: a small “pinch” per pot
  • Spots in situ: a small “pinch” per spot

Photo Credits: Heritage Seedlings & Liners, Inc