Satin flower, or Clarkia amoena, is an annual in the Onagraceae family that includes evening primrose and fuschia.
Also called farewell to spring, it appears on the rugged hills of the Pacific Coast in early summer. From British Columbia to California, its poppy-like blossoms cast a pinkish hue over the western terrain.
The genus Clarkia is purported to be an homage to the early 1800s American West explorer William Clark, of the famous Lewis and Clark expedition.
There are numerous Clarkia wildflowers endemic to California, including C. unguiculata, C. affinis, and C. breweri. Interestingly, they are often referred to generically as godetia, after the Swiss botanist, Godet, who was just a boy at the time of the American exploration.
In addition to C. amoena, satin flower is also known by the name Godetia amoena.
Some Like It Cool
C. amoena is a hardy summer annual that thrives with full sun, in average, well-drained soil.
It does best in cooler regions where temperatures don’t usually exceed the 80s.
If you’re in an area with hotter summers, get a jump on the growing season by starting seeds indoors six weeks before you would normally sow them outside. Transplant seedlings to the garden when all danger of frost has passed, and your flowers will be in bloom long before things heat up.
In the wild, colors usually range from deep pink to white, but today’s cultivars include oranges and purples, and many double-petaled varieties. Plants are clumping, with low leaves and two- to three-foot blossom-covered spikes.
Clarkia amoena Plant Facts
- Cool summer annual
- Early summer bloomer
- Easy to grow
- Full sun
- Heights up to 3 feet
- Variety of colors
- Zones 2 to 11
Where to Buy
Godetia ‘Sybil’ by Outsidepride is available on Amazon in packages of 5,000 or 10,000 seeds.
Suitable for growing in zones 3 to 7, this attractive salmon-pink variety reaches a mature height of about 18 inches.
Score One for the Environment
If you’re like me, you love a good hike, especially with the added purpose of looking for signs of spring.
The first satin flowers are a lovely sight on a sunny walk that hints at warmer days to come. And, sowing this plant in the garden is a great way to bring that good feeling home.
And, nothing livens up an outdoor space after a long, dreary winter like great clumps of satin flower in the garden. Perfect for beds, borders, and large containers, you’re sure to love its cheerful blossoms.
We love to hear from our readers. Does this plant grow at your house? Do you start seeds indoors? What is your summer weather like? Tell us in the comments section below, and visit us on Facebook for more ideas to keep your green thumb happy.
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Product photo via Outsidepride. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock.
About Nan Schiller
Nan Schiller is a writer with deep roots in the soil of southeastern Pennsylvania. Her background includes landscape and floral design, a BS in business from Villanova University, and a Certificate of Merit in floral design from Longwood Gardens. An advocate of organic gardening with native plants, she’s always got dirt under her nails and freckles on her nose. With wit and hopefully some wisdom, she shares what she’s learned and is always ready to dig into a new project!