How to Winterize Epimedium


Epimedium is a genus of flowering perennial plants belonging to the barberry family. It blooms in the spring in hues of pink, white and lavender and is commonly grown as a ground cover in garden beds and borders and as tree underplantings. Epimedium thrives in filtered sun to light shade conditions and in well-drained but moist soil. Hardy in USDA zones 4 to 8, epimedium requires shielding from drying and cold winter winds.

Step 1

Water your epimedium deeply in the fall to bolster the surrounding soil and plant roots against the upcoming winter drought. While epimedium can survive occasionally dry soil, consistently moist soil is preferred. If seasonal rainfall is insufficient to maintain moist soil, irrigate occasionally throughout the winter.

Step 2

Trim back your epimedium in the fall to remove any damaged or diseased foliage that could be problematic and invite disease over the winter. In climates where the top foliage does not overwinter, cut down the stems to a few inches above the crown of the plant in the late fall or after the first hard frost has come, and the foliage has begun to die back.

Step 3

Mulch around the base of the plant or over the cut-down crown of the plant with an organic mulch in the fall. Use well-aged manure, compost, shredded bark, leaf mold or cocoa bean hulls for your mulch as they will both insulate the plant and feed the soil quality as they degrade. Lay down your mulch in an even layer at least 2 inches deep.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Secateurs
  • Organic mulch


  • University of Vermont
  • Michigan State University
  • USDA Plant Database Profile
Keywords: epimedium grandiflorum longspur, flowering perennial, winterize overwinter protect

About this Author

A communications professional, D.C. Winston has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals and film/broadcast media. Winston studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.