Epimedium is another genus that we became avid collectors of several years ago. While working at the Miller Garden we were constantly running across new introductions that we just had to have. Most proved to be very garden worthy and today are some great performers in the garden just about now. Although I’m not on the search for new ones I still have to check them out when I see them at a plant sale and have had to pick up a few here and there.
It is also one of our good sellers in the nursery because people appreciate how well it preforms in the garden. Even in the dead of winter many of them look just great. Maybe sometimes a little too good, so I procrastinate cutting them back until it is too late to do it easily and I see the new growth emerging which makes it much harder to trim.Great Plant Picks has selected many Epimediums that do well and here is some of their information about these plants. To see all the Epimediums on the GPP list check out the following link. http://www.greatplantpicks.org/plantlists/by_plant_type/perennial .
A long-standing addition to our Northwest landscapes, Epimediums are proven performers in our region. In late winter and early spring, flowers are borne in profusion on dainty thin stalks. As the flowers fade, heart-shaped leaflets appear, each of fresh, bright green. With maturity, this beautiful foliage becomes weather-resistant and remains fully evergreen through winter. Some Epimedium make an excellent groundcover, filling an area so densely that it prevents weeds from becoming established, others are great specimen plants. Old-fashioned common names for this genus include barrenwort (for purported medicinal qualities) and bishop’s hat (for flower shape). Some gardeners like the name fairy wings, but most just call these epimediums.
Plant Type: perennial
Foliage Type: evergreen
Plant Height: 1 to 1.5 ft
Plant Width/Spread: 2 to 4 ft. (depending on type)
Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 to 9
Flower color: Depends on type
Sun/Light Exposure: open to dappled shade
Water requirements: some water during driest periods of summer
Seasonal Interest: showy flowers – good foliage
- This tough groundcover tolerates a wide range of soil conditions from sand to clay and moist to well-drained. It thrives in open to dappled shade but will tolerate deep shade, although the flowering is greatly reduced. It will tolerate drought well, but if the soil conditions are poor it is best to provide some occasional water during the driest periods of summer. Cut the leaves to the ground in January or early February to allow the new flowers to take center stage.