How to Grow Epimedium

How to Grow Epimedium: 7 Easy Ways

If you want to know how to grow epimedium then you are at the right place. This is complete as well as an easy guide to grow epimedium. The Epimedium genus is a group of carpeting perennial plants. These spring blooming plants are native to Asian and Mediterranean woodlands, and there are dozens of varieties that grow well under trees, in shade and rock gardens, and add a splash of spring color to the landscape. Most will gradually fill in a desired space with woody rhizomes, without taking over the garden or crowding out other desirable plants. Epimediums are an excellent choice for ground cover plants in partially shaded areas where other plants may struggle to grow.

The leaves of most Epimedium plants are heart-shaped or arrow-shaped with red markings. In the spring, they produce dainty flowers with four petals. The flowers appear to hover above the plant on arching leafless stems, mimicking butterfly wings. They come in red, pink, purple, white, yellow, and orange and resemble orchid blossoms at first glance. Some Epimedum herb species have been used in Chinese traditional medicine, but research into the plant’s medicinal properties is limited.

How to Grow Epimedium: Complete & Easy Guide

Epimedium thrives in dry shade conditions where other plants may struggle. It competes well with tree roots, tolerates rocky soil, grows well in dry soil, and tolerates low light levels. However, these are the worst-case growing conditions. While an Epimedium clump can easily tolerate these less-than-ideal growing conditions, it will thrive if you:

1. Choose a garden location with light shade or dappled light. This plant can tolerate some morning sun but not hot midday or afternoon sun. If you don’t have a perfect garden location, try planting it on the north side of the house, near taller plants, or near other structures that will cast a shadow in the afternoons. It will also grow in pots, which may make management easier. This is #1 way on how to grow epimedium.

2. Before planting, check the pH of the soil (via a soil test). Most Epimedium species prefer soil that is neutral to slightly acidic. Many of the newer Chinese varieties, on the other hand, thrive in alkaline soil. Japanese hybrids and selections prefer acidic soil with a pH between 5 and 7. This is #2 way on how to grow epimedium.

3. Plant in neutral to slightly acidic soil that is moist but well-drained. Epimediums dislike heavy, soggy soil that holds water. This is #3 way on how to grow epimedium.

4. Loosen the soil as much as possible in a dry or rocky location, and work some compost or well-rotted leaf mould into the planting hole. This is #4 way on how to grow epimedium.

5. Separate the plants by about a foot. Actual spacing is determined by the growth habit of the species or cultivar you choose. As they spread, the clumps will gradually grow together, filling in the empty spaces. This is #5 way on how to grow epimedium.

6. Water newly planted plants on a regular basis until they are well established. This is #6 way on how to grow epimedium.

7. Shear the foliage of evergreen varieties back to the ground before the flower spikes emerge in spring, because the foliage, despite being evergreen, tends to look tattered by then. In contrast to deciduous species, which turn brown and fall off on their own in autumn, evergreen species do not fall off even when tattered or skeletonized. This is #7 way on how to grow epimedium.

Epimedium Varieties

  1. ‘Pink Champagne’ Epimedium: This vibrant, evergreen variety is known for its spiky, pink flowers and red-bronze foliage.
  2. Epimedium x perralchicum: The leaves of this variety turn a lovely bronze in the spring and fall. It produces small yellow flowers in the spring.
  3. Epimedium ‘Amber Queen’: As the name suggests, the ‘Amber Queen’ variety is known for its amber-yellow flowers that bloom in the spring and last until mid-summer.

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Epimedium Care

Epimedium plants are generally low-maintenance. Mediterranean varieties are frequently evergreen and display their showy foliage all year. These cultivars are thought to be more drought tolerant than Asian cultivars, which die back in the winter. In the fall, foliage can turn red, yellow, or bronze depending on the variety.

These easygoing ground cover plants are rarely bothered by pests or diseases. Slugs and rabbits nibble on the foliage but rarely cause long-term damage. Vine weevils and the mosaic virus, on the other hand, can harm these plants.

The ideal environment for the plants will be created by mimicking the woodland conditions of the Epimedium’s natural habitat. They like the dappled shade of trees and the leaf mulch that results. It is best to plant them near trees and add compost or leaf mould once a year.

1. Light

These plants prefer filtered or dappled light. They are also suitable as a shade-garden plant but should not be grown in full sun. They thrive in the shade of trees or near larger structures that provide shade from the hot afternoon sun.

2. Soil

Epimedium plants thrive in dry, rocky soils where other plants struggle. They tolerate drought well, especially the Mediterranean varieties. Because they tolerate root competition well, they thrive when planted near trees. They can grow in rocky, dry soil, but they prefer fertile, well-draining soil and cannot tolerate wet conditions.

Because they tolerate root competition well, they thrive when planted near trees.

3. Water

Due to their drought tolerance, Epimedium plants do not require a regular watering schedule once established. Water lightly, ensuring that it drains well and doesn’t pool or leave the ground soggy, and only when the soil starts to feel dry. Young plants require consistent watering to establish themselves.

4. Humidity and temperature

Epimediums are tough plants that thrive in USDA hardiness zones 5-8. They can withstand high temperatures and humidity. On the other hand, Heat from the summer sun, can scorch the leaves.

5. Fertilizer 

Because these plants are frequently found growing in wooded areas or under trees, they benefit from having compost or leaf mould worked into the soil on a yearly basis. Apply this or a slow-release fertiliser in the spring.

How to Make Epimedium Bloom

The flowers of this genus are delicate, four-petaled, and appear to float above the plant. Depending on the variety, these flowers can be red, pink, orange, yellow, purple, white, or any combination of these colours. The petals of some flowers are spiky, while others are round and smooth. All of this contributes to these plants’ delicate, elegant appearance.

Epimedium typically blooms in the spring. In the spring, fertilise the plant and provide it with ideal conditions, especially in terms of light and water, to encourage blooming.

FAQs (How to Grow Epimedium)

Q1. Are Epimediums thought to be evergreen?

Some Epimediums are evergreen, while others lose their leaves in the winter. This is determined by the variety. The majority of Asian varieties die back, whereas the majority of Mediterranean varieties are evergreen.

Q2. Do Epimedium plants proliferate?

Plants of the genus Epimedium are classified as spreading ground plants. However, unlike many other ground cover plants, most varieties grow slowly and are not invasive.

Q3. Where can I find Epimedium plants?

Epimediums are Asian and Mediterranean plants. They’re most common in wooded areas with dappled lighting and well-drained soil.

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