Saturday, February 23, 2013

Favorite Plants: Epimedium Rubrum

The first time I saw Epimedium (Barrenwort) was at the Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia. I loved the graceful, overlapping leaves and the tiny, delicate flowers that looked like they belonged in a fairy garden. You had to get really close to truly appreciate the beautiful flowers. They were growing in a shady area and I knew I had to find some for the area by my greenhouse.

I am ashamed to admit that I have killed many, many plants in the area by the greenhouse. It is one of those tricky areas to grow anything – dry shade. I have added compost almost every year we’ve lived here to help improve the soil. Despite that, I have probably planted and killed at least ten different types of plants in this area. Epimedium is supposed to be drought tolerant and likes part shade to shade, so I thought I could give it a try. I found Epimedium Rubrum at a local nursery and gave it a shot, not feeling very confident about it. I am happy to report that after a year (or maybe two) it is still doing well.

This photo was taken last year in April...

 The dainty flowers of Epimedium Rubrum.

Can you see why this is a favorite plant? I absolutely adore the shape and colors of the tiny buds and flowers. Now that I have seen how well my two plants have done in this area, I am considering adding more.

In fall, the leaves turn a rust color, which lasts through the winter. To me, a plant is even more valuable when it has multi-season interest like this. I took this rainy photo today...

The fall color of Epimedium Rubrum.

I had looked for more Epimedium last year at my local nurseries and Rubrum seemed to be the only variety I could find. Not that I’m complaining because it’s fabulous. However, I’d like to see some others offered.

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