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Scutellaria incana (hoary skullcap)
Species Distribution Map: Click to enlarge
Map Color Key © 2013 BONAP

Scutellaria incana

hoary skullcap or downy skullcap

An eastern meadow native that provides weeks of color in mid-summer. Purple flowers top bushy green plants. Found at wood's edge and in sunny meadows from New York to Arkansas.

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2-4 Feet


12-16 Inches


12 Inches

Bloom Color


USDA Hardiness Zone 4-9

hoary skullcap Interesting Notes

Scutellaria incana is an eastern meadow native that provides weeks of color in mid-summer with purple-blue flowers sitting top bushy green plants. Growing 2-3’ tall and 1-2’ wide, hoary skullcap is a member of the mint family with square stems and downy, serrate foliage. Unlike its cousins, it does not have scent and is inedible to mammals but it is an easy-to-grow plant rarely afflicted with disease and tough as nails after it establishes in the garden.

Scutellaria incana is found at woods edges, thickets, rocky slopes above rivers and in sunny meadows from New York to Arkansas. It can take a wide range of soil conditions, from sandy to rocky, but is especially notable in its way of managing heavy clay. It spreads by strong rhizome and will form a dense clump when placed in moist, rich soil. Hoary skullcap prefers full sun but can tolerate light shade. As with most plants, less light results in a more sporadic and shorter bloom display.

Hoary skullcap has stronger spires of blooms than Agastache foeniculum but doesn’t quite have the same name recognition. Great for naturalized settings like meadows and prairie restorations, skullcap looks just as well in the sunny pollinator garden or perennial border. We particularly enjoy its drought tolerance. As with most members of the mint family, Scutellaria incana is attractive to pollinators including bumblebees, skippers, and bee flies while the foliage is also used as forage for several sucking and chewing insects.

Scutellaria incana Growing and Maintenance Tips

Easily grown in average, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Best on dryish, sandy or clay soils. Great for wildflower gardens, cottage gardens, native plant gardens, open woodland areas, prairies or meadows. - Missouri Botanical Garden

Good Substitutions

skullcap Scutellaria 'Appalachian Blues'

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Full Sun
Full Sun
Part Sun
Part Sun
Deer Resistant
Deer Resistant

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Green Infrastructure
Plug Type
Landscape Plug™
Native to North America
Clay Tolerance
Propagation Type