How to Grow an Epimedium


Epimedium is a group of around 50 types of evergreens that originate in the eastern Mediterranean and eastern Asia. They make wonderful groundcover, and in the spring yield flowers in shades of pink, orange, yellow and white. Most species of these plants can successfully be grown in USDA gardening zones 5 through 9.

Step 1

Choose a location that is partially shaded. Morning sun is good but hot afternoon sun will burn the leaves. The shady side of a rock garden or a border at the edge of a tree overhang is ideal. Dig a hole twice the width of the root ball and 2 inches deeper.

Step 2

Mix the dug out soil as follows: one part compost, one part peat moss and one part original soil. Place 2 inches of amended soil back in the hole, or enough to bring the plant to the same level it was in the container you purchased it in. Plant in the spring.

Step 3

Place the plant in the hole and cover half the root ball with amended soil. Water in the soil to compact it around the roots. Continue to fill the hole and press the soil down firmly on the top.

Step 4

Water well to establish the roots for the first week. After that, water only when the top of the soil feels dry. Epimedium does not like drought, but doesn't like to be overly wet either. Only give extra watering when you are experiencing very hot and dry conditions.

Step 5

Place a slow release fertilizer, high in nitrogen on the soil, around the plant, and water that in, in early spring. This will ultimately help give you healthy, thick foliage; this is a slow growing plant, however, and will take a few years to fully fill in.

Step 6

Cover the ground around the plant with a dry leaf mulch in late spring. This will help to conserve moisture and mimic the original surroundings of the Epimedium. Add to the mulch in the fall to help keep the ground warm through the winter.

Things You'll Need

  • Epimedium plant
  • Spade
  • Compost
  • Peat moss
  • Slow-release fertilizer
  • Dry leaf mulch


  • Brooklyn Botanical Garden
  • Plant Biology
Keywords: growing Epimedium, planting Barrenwart, caring for ground covers

About this Author

Dale DeVries is a retired realtor with 30 years of experience in almost every facet of the business. DeVries started writing in 1990 when she wrote advertising and training manuals for her real estate agents. Since retiring, she has spent the last two years writing well over a thousand articles online for Associated Content, Bright Hub and Demand Studios.