How to Grow and Care for Godetia Plants

How to Grow and Care for Satin Flower (Clarkia amoena)

godetia

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Godetia is the older genus name for the satin flower. A member of the evening primrose family (Onagraceae), Godetia is related not only to evening primrose flower (Oenothera) but also to fuchsia, the plant so popular for hanging baskets. Some gardeners value the plant as much for its celebration of an important event in American history as for its considerable beauty.

Botanical Name Clarkia amoena; formerly, Godetia amoena
Common Name Satin flower, farewell-to-spring
Plant Type Annual
Mature Size 2 to 2.5 feet tall, with a spread of up to one foot
Sun Exposure Full sun to partial shade
Soil Type Average to low fertility needs, average to low moisture levels, well-drained
Soil pH Neutral
Bloom Time June to July
Flower Color Lavender, pink, red, salmon, or white
USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 10
Native Area West Coast of North America
godetia

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

godetia

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

How to Grow Godetia

If you want to grow Godetia from seed, sow the seed indoors six to eight weeks prior to the last frost date listed for your region. You can also sow the seed directly in your flower bed when the soil can be worked in spring. Once Godetia is established in your garden, you probably will not have to sow seed for it again because the plant readily reseeds.

When your Godetia achieves some height, pinch out the center of the plant to encourage more blooms and keep the plant to a compact size.

Because Godetia can be plagued by powdery mildew, be sure to provide adequate spacing between the plants. Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that can be reduced when air circulation is increased. The plant can also be affected by aphids and mites; if you see either of these pests on the leaves, spray them with neem oil.

The plants are tall enough that they might require staking, especially if you grow them singly here and one there and if your garden is subject to high winds. You can avoid having to stake them by growing the plants in groups as they will support each other.

Deer do not bother this plant, but, happily, butterflies and bees are drawn to it.

Light

Grow Godetia in full sun unless you garden in a hot climate with lots of humidity (in which case the plant can benefit from some shade).

Soil

The most important soil requirement for Godetia is good drainage.

Water

Godetia is drought-tolerant once established, but you should water the young plants during dry spells. You can also extend flower life by making sure that this annual plant is adequately watered prior to its bloom period.

Fertilizer

Occasionally work compost into the ground around the plant. This serves as sufficient fertilizing for Godetia, which is not a heavy feeder.

Origin of the Names

The common name satin flower comes from the fact that the flowers feel like crepe paper. The plant is not alone in this regard: Bougainvillea, poppy (Papaver spp.), and the aptly named crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia spp.) also have flowers with this texture. Meanwhile, the plant is also known as farewell-to-spring because it does not like hot and humid summer weather; this cool-season annual puts on most of its growth in spring.

The botanical names for the plant have even more interesting sources. Initially, the genus was called Godetia in reference to a 19th-century Swiss botanist named Charles Henry Godet. The genus name was later changed to Clarkia to honor William Clark of the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition. Finally, amoena, the species name, means beautiful or pleasing.

What Godetia Looks Like

Beyond their inviting texture, the flowers of Godetia have a pleasing appearance. They are scoop-shaped, with four petals, and measure two to three inches across. Each petal sometimes bears a blotch at its base, as with Oriental poppy (Papaver orientale). The leaves are sword-shaped and up to two and a half inches long. There are different cultivars, offering, among other features, different sizes and a choice between single and double flowers.

Uses for Godetia

Godetia has a number of uses. The stems are sturdy enough for cutting: Bring some indoors and arrange them in a vase. Outdoor uses include: