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Close-up of the showy pink flower of sea blush (Plectritus congesta). One of 100+ species of Pacific Northwest native plants available at Sparrowhawk Native Plants, Native Plant Nursery in Portland, Oregon.
Close-up of the showy pink flower of sea blush (Plectritus congesta) with Blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia) in the background. One of 100+ species of Pacific Northwest native plants available at Sparrowhawk Native Plants, Native Plant Nursery in Portland, Oregon.
Sea blush (Plectritus congesta) growing on a steep hillside, surrounded by lichen. One of 100+ species of Pacific Northwest native plants available at Sparrowhawk Native Plants, Native Plant Nursery in Portland, Oregon.

Sea Blush

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Plectritis congesta

Sea blush is a perky, early-blooming annual wildflower with a relatively compact form. This plant is covered with terminal clusters of powder-pink flowers in spring and often grows in expansive patches that are highly attractive to overwintering queen bumblebees, clear wing moths and an impressive array of other native pollinators, including the endangered Fender’s blue and Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies.

  • Plant type/canopy layer: deciduous perennial herbaceous plant
  • Size at maturity: 12"- 24" tall, 4"- 10" wide
  • Light requirements: full sun to partial shade
  • Moisture requirements: dry to wet soil
  • Bloom time: April - May
  • Growth rate/ease: medium growth rate, easy to grow
  • Wildlife support: nectar source for adult butterflies, bees and other insect pollinators; attracts and supports beneficial and other pest eating insects; caterpillar host plant and larval food source
  • Native habitat/range: locally common in coastal bluffs or partly-shaded spring-wet slopes from coastline to mid elevations, extending from Northern CA to British Columbia. Portland Plant List - yes.
  • Special features & uses: pollinator gardens, rock gardens, meadowscapes

Gardening with Sea Blush: This plant will do best in dry, rocky areas that mimic the glacial outwash soils it typically calls home. Just give it plenty of sun and it’ll be a happy camper. We recommend planting in large swaths, along with other native wildflowers such as common camas, western buttercup, Douglas meadowfoam, globe gilia, and farewell-to-spring to create a vibrant floral show and pollinator paradise from spring through late summer.

Seed Sowing instructions:  Plant between September and November or in March so that seeds will benefit from seasonal rains. If planted later than March, seeds will likely require regular supplemental water during the first summer to complete its lifecycle, thereby developing seeds to drop for next year. Scatter seed on loose-weed free soil and lightly rake in to increase seed-to-soil contact, but be careful not to cover the seed with more than 1/4" soil.