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Hardiness Zone Map


Epimedium

Barrenwort or Bishop’s Hat

Dense and leafy Epimedium is one of our most successful ground covers for the moist woodland setting. New heart-shaped leaves on wiry stems unfurl in spring with a rosy, marbled coloration that fades to green as summer approaches. In autumn, the marbling returns in coral and copper, enduring mild winters. The unusual small flowers (Bishop’s Hats) are held above the foliage in airy sprays, and resemble miniature Columbines. Durable and long-lived, Epimediums can adapt to drier conditions once established, spreading slowly and steadily. Both flowers and foliage are prized for small arrangements.

<i>Epimedium</i> ‘Amber Queen’

Bred by Blackthorn Nursery owner Robin White, this relatively new E. flavum and E. wushanense cross is adorned with droves of large warm-hued blooms. Arranged in an open fashion on long, nearly invisible black stems, the whimsical deep yellow flowers feature hooked light blonde spurs, red-tinged sepal backs and speckled petals, all melding together for an overall amber shade. Toothed and elongated, tidy heart-shaped foliage heralds spring with a bold russet mottling.

Blooms late March|#8211;May

Size: 10" high x 18" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

We have American Epimedium maven, Darrell Probst, to thank for this wildly popular floriferous hybrid. Beneath the practically peerless bicolored floral display, long-pointed spiny edged leaves with hazel-hued bridling compose a stylish dense mound. The 2 ft. tall, arching maroon panicles gather a splendid legion of large white-spurred blooms, embellished by rosy wine-tinted tips. Though ‘Domino’ is uninteresting to deer and bunnies, it promises to entice many 2-legged garden visitors.

Blooms April|ndash;May

Size: 18" – 2' 0" high x 2' 0" – 3' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

‘Enchantress’ is the prized outcome of legendary plantswoman Elizabeth Strangman’s cross between Epimedium dolichostemon and Epimedium leptorrhizum. Buoyant tiny lavender-colored buds and medium-sized silvery lilac flowers with purple inner segments loll above large elongated heart-shaped green leaves. Heightened by undulating margins plus red, henna and crimson brindling in the winter and early spring, this distinctive low growing evergreen can be enjoyed along a pathway or near your favorite bench.

Blooms March–April

Size: 6" – 12" high x 12" – 15" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

Fresh spring green foliage that’s flushed with cozy chestnut hues premiers large pastel flowers on pale apple green stems. Described by darker flip sides, pinkish lavender sepals plus spidery white-tipped and spurred lilac petals, a fine flood of fairytale-like blooms nearly conceals the handsome medium-sized habit of this easily maintained seldom offered Japanese gem.

Blooms late March–May

Size: 8" – 10" high x 12" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

<i>Epimedium grandiflorum</i> ‘Lilafee’

‘Lilafee’ is a delicate delight as a ground cover. Its loose, tall sprays of elegant, long-spurred, lavender violet blossoms rise from a bed of vigorous oval-shaped foliage, purply bronze when new, and bright green as it matures. A carpet of ‘Lilafee’ under a Cercidiphyllum will echo its coloration.

Blooms late March–May.

Size: 6" – 8" high x 12" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

With a name that’s apropos, this Richard Lighty introduction conjures fanciful flowers distinguished by vivid purple sepals and extended white spurs. Ornately detailed blooms dance on thin dark stems above a marvelous bed of damson-flushed springtime foliage. Generating a compact, yet plucky ground cover, the heart-like leaves develop olive-green hues and maroon margins as they mature. ‘Purple Pixie’ will impart enchanting accents to the dappled recesses of your garden, especially when nestled alongside Geranium ‘Claudine Dupont’ (pp#13,966)

Blooms April–May

Size: 9" – 12" high x 12" – 15" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

Housed within wispy sprays of wire-like reddish stems, cranberry-colored buds unveil myriad large pure white flowers defined by slender spurs that gracefully flare out. The attractive medium-sized green leaves are arrow-shaped, spiny toothed and mulled with burgundy brindling in the spring. An undemanding AGM recipient,‘White Queen’s close-set herbaceous habit can be easily tucked amid tree roots and other shady alcoves, while her exquisite pearly-hued flowers sparkle up neighbors such as Dicentra ‘Bacchanal’ and Geranium ‘Coombland White’.

Blooms late March–May

Size: 12" – 14" high x 12" – 15" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

Recently introduced from China, this average-sized nearly evergreen Epimedium is a study in color-rich refinement. Copper-infused new growth and elongated, deep green serrated leaves present long racemes of dangling, broad-petaled crisp white flowers with warm yellow-orange inner sepals and stamens. Unfazed by deer and occasional dry periods, ‘Mandarin Star’ shines brightly amid fellow shade aficionados such as Dryopteris ‘Brilliance’ and Geranium p. ‘Lavender Pinwheel’.

Blooms April|ndash;May

Size: 16" high x 16" – 18" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

<i>Epimedium</i> x <i>x perralchicum</i> ‘Frohnleiten’

With a dainty style that defies its stoic nature, ‘Frohnleiten’ can handle dry conditions and is quick to colonize. Buoyant, loosely formed clusters of pendulous, winged vibrant yellow flowers perch above the tailored leafy clump. Bright green veins dramatically tattoo auburn-tinged spring foliage, while summer brings valiant greenery, and autumn a florid fanfare that occasionally persists into winter.

Blooms April|#8211;May

Size: 15" high x 12" – 15" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

<i>Epimedium perralderianum</i>

Bronze serrated leaves in compact clumps are a spring prelude to bright starlike yellow flowers. The foliage turns green and lasts throughout the year, tolerating the shade of Styrax orViburnum.

Blooms March–April.

Size: 8" – 10" high x 16" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

<i>Epimedium</i> ‘Pink Elf’

Originating from a Epimedium leptorrhizum and Epimedium pubescens cross, this delightful Robin White hybrid makes a vigorously spreading clump. Dappled with green and auburn shades, the evergreen leaves loll beneath a fairy’s fest of pink flowers marked by purple tinges and bronze-colored cups on thin stiff stems. (pp#17228)

Blooms late March – May.

Size: 12" high x 18" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

Dwelling throughout the mountainous regions near Georgia’s Black Sea coast, this prized Epimedium begets good-sized jewel-box-like blooms with bright yellow petal-like inner sepals, red spurs and tiny brownish petals. Effulgent outfacing flowers prance above tall, lean leafless stems plus a dashing polished mound of reddish brown-dappled younger leaves offset by cordate dark green mature ones. Considered one of the best ground covers for shady areas, the dense, slow-spreading evergreen clump ensures sprightly floral accents, outstanding vigor and drought tolerance once established.

Blooms April–May

Size: 9" – 15" high x 12" – 18" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

<i>Epimedium</i> x <i>x rubrum</i>

So prolific are the intricate crimson and white flowers on this Epimedium that the wiry stems are obscured by the origami-like blossoms. It’s best served by planting in shade, fancying either a woodland setting or the rockery.

Blooms February|#8211;March

Size: 9" high x 12" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

<i>Epimedium stellulatum</i> ‘Wudang Star’

Aptly named ‘Wudang Star’ unfurls a floral delicacy of exquisite pure white blossoms that resemble 4-pointed stars in loosely arranged sprays. Highlighted by prominent yellow stamens, the abundant larger than average blooms are elevated on tall lean stems above a lustrous spiny green foundation, distinctive for its arrowhead- shaped leaves and newly emerging growth with bronzy pink margins. Let this rare Chinese gem brighten your garden’s shady nooks and you’ll see why acclaimed plantsman Roy Lancaster introduced it.

Blooms March–April.

Size: 18" high x 15" – 18" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

<i>Epimedium</i> x <i>versicolor</i> ‘Sulphureum’

Though this Epimedium grandiflorum and Epimedium pinnatum ssp. colchicum hybrid was selected well over 150 years ago, it still upholds an impeccable long-standing reputation as the go-to Epimedium for difficult shady garden recesses. The suave, closely hewn ground covering clump is described by trim bright red flower stalks plus sprightly pale yellow ornate blossoms above leathery heart-shaped green leaves, donning artful wine-hued etchings in spring and autumn maroon blotching. Fast growing, energetic and swarthy, ‘Sulphureum’ mingles well with early blooming Pulmonarias or Brunneras, while conquering a wide range of soil.

Blooms March–April

Size: 12" – 16" high x 12" – 18" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

We bet you’ll take your hats off to this ‘Bishop’s Hat’. Its intriguing flowers have petals of yellow, sepals of coppery orange, anthers of green, and spurs adorned with red streaks. The light green spring foliage is spiny-toothed and has a reddish margin. We plant it alongside our shaded steps and benches amid Helleborus ‘Ivory Prince’, so that we can enjoy the detail and contrasting colors.

Blooms April–May.

Size: 12" high x 12" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

Lauded as one of the most colorful warleyense species, this toasty hued hybrid between E. alpinum and E. pinnatum ssp. colchicum occurred in the Warley Place garden of Britainís infamous curmudgeon plantswoman, Miss Willmott. A central yellow cup and subtle salmon overtones enrich the burnt reddish orange flowers, which are poised on 15 in. narrow stems. Below the wondrous blooms, a fast growing mostly evergreen foundation of ample-sized foliage hosts young plum-imbued leaves maturing to green, then ending the season brinled with bronze and burgundy tones.

Blooms April-May

Size: 16" high x 16" – 18" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

We bet you’ll take your hats off to this fabulous ‘Bishop’s Hat’, an Ernest Pagels Epimedium alpinum and Epimedium pinnatum ssp. colchicum cross. Its intriguing flowers are defined by soft coppery tangerine-colored petals, greenish anthers and spurs painted with red streaks. The light green spring foliage is spiny toothed and warmed by reddish margins.

We place it alongside our shaded steps and benches amid Helleborus ‘Ivory Prince’, so that we can enjoy the detail and contrasting colors.

Blooms March–April.

Size: 16" high x 16" – 18" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

Springing forth as a chance seedling in esteemed plantswoman Amy Doncaster’s British garden, this small growing Epimedium conjures pointed wine-colored buds and lovely 2-toned blooms. Plump spurless flowers, distinguished by dusky mauve-purple petals with white bases, populate dense sprays atop thread-like stems. A tailored clump of pointed close-set foliage plus violet and cocoa-tinted young spring growth anchors the unusual nodding blossoms. Lodge ‘Merlin’ in the shadows and a magical spectacle is yours for the viewing.

Blooms April–May

Size: 10" – 12" high x 12" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

<i>Epimedium</i> x <i>youngianum</i> ‘Niveum’

Illuminated by a sprightly, overhead display of starry, pure white flowers, the emerging henna-hued leaves grow into a compact mass that stays tidy all season. Smaller sized, handsome pointed leaflets have toothed margins and impart scarlet and crimson colors for a lambent fall finale.

Blooms April–May.

Size: 8" – 10" high x 12" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

Documented in a 1863 Parisian herbarium, this ladylike Epimedium premiers fleurs díun rose clair. Sprays of soft lilac-pink, narcissus-like flowers dangle from stiff, needle-thin reddish stems. Fashioning an attractive bushy mound, the pointed ovate leaflets first emerge with warm auburn hues and green-up as spring progresses.

Blooms April – May.

Size: 8" high x 15" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

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Current Staff's Favorite Plant

Current Staff's Favorite Plant

Our featured plant: Cercidiphyllum japonicum

Our latest newsletter: Cercidiphyllum japonicum: A tree brimming with elegance; Autumnal Allure; Late Season Sale!

Cercidiphyllum japonicum: A tree brimming with elegance....

An inhabitant of China and Japan, Cercidiphyllum japonicum usually grows as a refined multitrunked tree with a pyramidal to rounded canopy. Cloaking gracefully structured branches, the lovely somewhat heart-shaped deciduous leaves unfurl in bronzy purple tones, and later exhibit medium bluish green hues for summer. The foliar grand finale includes brilliant yellow, apricot, orange or mauve colors plus a sweet strawberry-like scent that wafts some 15 feet or further on sunny, warm fall afternoons. This easy-care tree prefers adequate moisture as well as some protection from hot scorching sun and drying winds.

Autumnal Allure...

One of the greatest joys of gardening is witnessing the changes that occur in our landscapes throughout the year, and many deciduous woody plants pretty much top the list for affording dynamic seasonal transformations, especially in autumn. Most of the trees and shrubs featured in this newsletter are renowned for both their handsome habits and prismatic fall displays. We’ve also included a few of our favorite perennials that lend late season floral or foliar intrigue.

All of us Digging Dog plant wranglers wish you Happy Digging!

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