PLANT PRO­FILE

Gardens Illustrated Magazine - - Dig In Plantsman’s Favourites -

What Epimedi­ums are low-grow­ing, mostly herba­ceous, wood­land plants with pretty spi­der-like flow­ers in spring. Also known as bishop’s hats, bar­ren­worts or fairy wings.

Origins Italy and south­ern cen­tral Europe, Al­ge­ria, Turkey, Iran, north­ern In­dia, China, Ko­rea and Ja­pan. There are in­creas­ing num­bers of species be­ing dis­cov­ered in the re­mote val­leys of China’s Sichuan and Yun­nan provinces by mod­ern plant hunters. As a re­sult Euro­pean and Amer­i­can grow­ers are pro­duc­ing larg­er­flow­ered hy­brids.

Sea­son Flow­er­ing in spring among and above the well­coloured new leaves, many are great ever­greens, some pro­vid­ing good ground­cover.

Size Most are around 15cm tall in leaf, with flow­ers reach­ing to 45cm. Fo­liage ranges in height from 6cm to 20cm, and while in flower they can reach up to 1.3m. In­di­vid­ual flow­ers are usu­ally 1-3cm across.

Con­di­tions Moist, welldrained, rich soil in light shade, although the tra­di­tional forms will grow and spread in dry shade. The Ja­pa­nese species pre­fer an acid soil.

Har­di­ness Epimedi­ums are gen­er­ally hardy through­out the UK and north­ern Europe. Most of those fea­tured here have an RHS har­di­ness rat­ing of be­tween H4 (-10ºC to -5ºC) and H7 (colder than -20ºC), and are suit­able for gar­dens in USDA zones 4a-8b. *Holds an Award of Gar­den Merit from the Royal Hor­ti­cul­tural So­ci­ety. Har­di­ness ratings given where avail­able.

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