Plants - Perennials

Epimedium: Made for shade

Few plants shine in the shade, but among those that do, Epimedium steals the spotlight


Soil for the shade garden

Trees and large shrubs take up the majority of water and nutrients in shade gardens. To make up for these deficiencies, soil for perennial plants must be rich in organic matter and provide plenty of moisture and oxygen. Here's a good mix for perennial beds under trees:

  • 2 parts organic material (compost, peat moss, leaves, pine and spruce needles, small particles of tree bark)
  • 1 part sharp builder's sand
  • 1 part loamy soil


In the shadows

Here are some barrenworts to brighten shady spots in your garden. All are clump forming (unless otherwise stated) and range in height from 20 to 30 cm. Compact varieties have a spread of 20 to 30 cm, while others have a spread of 30 to 45 cm. Zone 4.

  • Epimedium x cantabrigiense: Orange-brown blooms spashed with red, dark green foliage
  • E. grandiflorum ‘Lilafee' (‘Lilac Fairy'): Compact, vigorous; deep violet-purple flowers, leaves tinged purple in spring
  • E. perralchicum ‘Frohnleiten': Compact; bright yellow flowers, bronze-marbled foliage. Spreading habit
  • E. x rubrum: Small, scarlet-red flowers, light green leaves edged red in spring. Spreading habit, vigorous
  • E. x versicolor ‘Sulfureum': Light primrose yellow flowers
  • E. warleyense ‘Orangekonigin' (‘Orange Queen'): Pale orange flowers
  • E. x youngianum ‘Niveum': Compact; pure white flowers
  • E. x youngianum ‘Roseum': Compact; lilac-rose flowers

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