Kruckeberg Botanic Garden Plant of the Month – Epimedium perralderianum

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Epimedium. Photo by Roseann Barnhill
Savvy Northwest gardeners know that epimediums are one of our most successful groundcovers for shade. Epimedium perralderianum is a favorite at the Garden and a great plant for winter interest. The new leaves of this evergreen plant are unfurling now with a reddish, marbled coloration that fades to green. Its airy sprays of tiny yellow flowers bloom above the plant in March and April.

The epimedium genus contains many species native to Asia and the eastern Mediterranean. They stay low – around a foot or so in height – and form dense patches over time. Many do well with little summer water. Those found around the Mediterranean can tolerate drier conditions than those native to the temperate areas of Asia.

The dry, shady conditions under our native conifers present a challenge but also an opportunity. Only tough plants can compete. Epimediums fall into this category, as do many of our native groundcovers. After all, our natives are no strangers to Northwest forests!

Epimedium perralderianum is available in the MsK Nursery anytime, and in the Garden to enjoy this month.

--Sarah Baker, Garden Director, Kruckeberg Botanic Garden


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