Epimedium - Garden Basics - Flower - Perennial

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Plant Information Type: perennial
Propagation: division
Light: partial shade
Flower Color: white
Height: 15 inches
Width: 15 inches
Soil Requirements: neutral pH, average moisture, no clay
Zones: 4-8
Uses: groundcover, rock garden, shaded areas

The ideal place for epimedium is in a classical Japanese garden at the water's edge. It makes a great groundcover and the overlapping heart'shaped leaves soften rocky landscapes. The foliage is attractive in year round--in spring the new leaves are tinted with pink or red; in summer they are marked by beautiful veins; in fall they turn bronze and may remain all winter if the plant is in a protected location. The interesting, four-petaled flowers dangle in clusters at the end of wiry stems.

E. diphyllum, a native Japanese plant, is a dwarf species that grows 6-8 inches high. Leaves are 2 to 3 inches long, and its flowers are white, 3/4 to 1 inch across. Blooms appear in early spring. Bishop's hat, native to Korea as well as Japan, also has 2- to 3-inch-long leaves, but grows 9 to 12 inches high and has 1-inch-long flowers in colors ranging from white and yellow to rose and violet, depending on the variety. It blooms in late spring and early summer. Shown is E. grandiflorum.

Epimediums spread by means of creeping underground stems to become sizable clumps, but this growth is slow. They are hardy in Zones 4-8. They do best in partial shade and a rich, moist, well-drained soil supplemented with peat moss or leaf mold. Plant them in fall or spring, spacing them 8 to 10 inches apart. In early spring, clip plants back to ground level to dispose of old leaves, which might interfere with new growth. Propagate by division in midsummer.

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