Chelone is commonly called the turtle head flower because of the unusually-shaped pink flowers from midsummer into autumn above oval, sometimes slightly bronzed, shiny dark green leaves. Tiny Tortuga is a recent introduction and, as the name suggests, is a compact variety, making it suitable for growing in a container or front to mid border in the garden. A nice little thing. Sun or semi-shade. Any reasonable soil. 18 in. 1 litre pot.
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Chelone is native to North America and has on its side the qualities of being attractive to butterflies and unattractive (as lunch, anyway) to deer. Tiny Tortuga is variously listed as a variety of C. Lyonii and C. Obliqua, so there appears to be some uncertainty about its horticultural heredity. We have seen it suggested that it's a dwarf version of Chelone Hot Lips, which would place it under C. Lyonii. Whatever the truth, we are sure it's a great little plant which seems to tantalise you for weeks in summer as the flower buds fatten up before bursting out into their hot pink splendour.
Tortuga is, as the linguists amongst you will be quick to recognise, is Spanish for tortoise or, as our friends across the pond have it, turtle. The common name for Chelone is, as we have already mentioned, turtlehead, so ... yes, we get it.
As for the origins of the genus name, Chelone was a nymph in Greek mythology who angered the gods by refusing to attend the marriage of Zeus to Hera and was punished by being turned into a tortoise (or, indeed, turtle).
Chelone Tiny Tortuga is a compact hardy perennial with shiny dark green leaves and hot pink flowers in late summer and autumn suitable for sun or semi-shade.