Epimedium - Plants and Species

With an ever increasing range of Epimedium plants and species for sale in the UK its a great time to take a look at these shade loving plants.

For popular garden species look for epimedium sulphureum and epimedium grandiflorum, the much 'sought after' epimedium sagittatum and epimedium rubrum are but two of the other species, and when we look at modern flowering epimedium hybrids and cultivars the choice is increasing every year.

Epimedium accuminatum (see picture right) is one that we particularly like, very pretty purple and white flowers in spring.

Epimediums as a ground cover plant

Epimediums make great ground cover beneath deciduous trees with epimedium saggitatum, rubrum and grandiflorum being very popular.

Over time most species and cultivars will form a dense root system that stops weeds from getting a foothold.

We recently saw a great patch of the cultivar 'cherry tart' it covered around 2m in length and not a weed in site. We quizzed the gardener and he explained he started with 7 plants spread over the 2m in a staggered line, he mulched and weeded for 2 years and by then the little plants had formed larger clumps that have blocked the weeds and when in flower put on a magical display.

Uses in the garden

Often refered to as Barrenwort, Bishop's Hat, Fairy Wings and of course Epimedium sagittatum is well known as 'Horny Goat Weed'. Epimediums have flowers in early spring through to summer. Epimediums are useful in the rock garden or as border plants. Epimediums appreciate the application of organic mulch in winter for best results. With yellow, white and pink flowers Epimedium are a fairly tough plant and mix well with Aquilegia.
Epimediums are mostly from Southern China and make an excellent garden plant. Epimedium are used widely as a ground cover, with excellent foliage and interesting flowers. Yes you can grow these wonderful plants from seeds, if you are patient type. Division of established clumps is much easier.

Epimedium is sometimes given names such as, Barrenwort, Bishop's Hat, Fairy Wings and of course Epimedium sagittatum is well known as 'Horny Goat Weed'.

Epimedium species include:

Epimedium macranthum, E. ogisui, E. epsteinii, E. acuminatum, E. lishihchenii, E. brachyrrhizum, E. chlorandrum, E. elatum, E. membranaceum, E. platypetalum, E. alpinum, E. myrianthum, E. sutchuenense, E. stellulatum, E. saggitatum, E. ecalcaratum, and E. brevicornu.

Where to grow Epimedium

Epimediums grow well in dry shade, try beneath trees or large shrubs. A part shade or dapples shade is better than heavy shade. A humus rich moist but well drained soil is best.

Epimedium care

Epimedium will perform best if damaged foliage is removed at the end of winter before new growth commences. This will also allow flower to be more easily seen. This is also a good time to apply a little compost and a complete fertilizer.

Pruning Epimedium

Epimediums are pruned, or cut back to help flowers be more easily seen above new foliage.

John AllmanŽ?

You can find Epimedium plants for sale at the following nurseries

CLAIRE AUSTIN HARDY PLANTS Hardy Plants - phone: 01939 251173
Edgebolton, Shawbury, Shropshire, SY4 4EL

EDROM NURSERIES - phone 018907 71386
Coldingham Eyemouth Berwickshire TD14 5TZ

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