last updated 21/10/2014
These delightful woodland perennials are perfect for underplanting trees and shrubs. Although extremely shade tolerant, they need summer moisture, so avoid planting in too dry a site. Where adequate summer moisture prevails however, they will remain in lush growth all summer, and often give a second flush of flowers in the autumn.
At first, it surprised me that Epimedium are in the same family as Berberis, but there is a family resemblance in the shape of the flower. These are produced primarily in spring, and come in all shades of white, yellow, orange and purple. To add to the spring display, many have attractively coloured or mottled young leaves. Some of the more recent Chinese introductions have a reputation for being vulnerable to late frosts, but if they are positioned within other planting, they will be protected and suffer no damage.
Rich autumn colour further extends their season of interest. Many people cut off the old leaves in winter to better display the emerging young growth and flowers in spring. Although effective, this is not necessary if time precludes such labour; indeed it can make that new growth more vulnerable to frost.
A great many of them are actually evergreen and will maintain a rich carpet of foliage even through the winter. And so they really are worthwhile plants to add interest to any garden; whether at the foot of a solitary shrub or through an entire woodland.
Not to be confused with
the immature recent divisions so often see for sale, we offer
substantial plants in 2 litre pots. We find these establish much more
effectively since they are better able to cope with a wider range of
growing conditions. Please ask about quantity discounts.
(E. dolichostemon x E. acuminatum) A fabulous Japanese hybrid producing large flowers, generally in groups of three, held on vigorous stems above the leaves. The flowers are white and reflex back as they mature to reveal dramatic deep amber spurs. This is also a wonderful foliage plant - rich dark red blotches pattern the pale green leaves as they unfurl.
This hybrid from E. pinnatum subsp. colchicum has all the latter's vigour and ease of culture. The dark green, leathery leaves turn a glossy purple-black through winter. Creamy yellow flowers.
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