It grows in shady sites and requires moist soil. It grows equally well in mineral-rich or highly organic soil as in bogs. It is often found in flood plains, near springs, around sedge bogs and in scrubland. It is also found along shorelines and in ditches alongside tall plants such as cattails and cord grass. There are only four species of Chelone, all found only in eastern North America. Only white turtlehead grows in Canada, in southern parts of the country. In Québec, it is found as far north as the southern reaches of James Bay.