Epimedium enchanting!

I have a bit of an epimedium weakness (I like erythroniums too, and many other things beginning with e but not… well, let’s not get distracted). However, my garden eats epimediums, so this year I got a bit radical.


My one remaining epimedium – and I’ve been given epimediums which are an invasive menace elsewhere but which disappear chez moi – is this precious pearl, Epimedium grandliflorum ‘Lilatee’.  I love it, but I didn’t want to see it go the way of all flesh – um, the way of all epimediums – and so I marked its position carefully and let the leaves die back.

And when they did, I potted it up.


One of my friends said ‘I didn’t know you could grow epimediums in pots’, and neither did I. But it’s a tiny one, despite the name, and I thought it might be OK. It came through the winter fine, nice and dormant, snuggled below the soil. Then this spring I began to notice signs of life. I moved the pot to near the back door where I could enjoy it, and sure enough – pow. A really healthy plant. Flourishing, in fact.

Then we had a really chilly night – I had to scrape the windscreen of frost – and I thought it looked a little pinched and surprised, so I moved it into my unheated greenhouse.

I think it likes it.


It’s supposed to be warming up a little, so I might try reintroducing it to the outside world. But while it’s sitting on the potting bench (oh, I’ll come clean – the old picnic table I use as a potting benchette), it’s at just the right height for some epimedium worship.


Those flowers, by the way, are a max of 2.5 cm from spur tip to spur tip. I’ve got another flowering stem to come out, and I’ve never seen it look so good.

Maybe I might invest in a couple more…


18 Comments Add yours

  1. Alison says:

    They are so beautiful. I’d have never thought of growing them in pots – now I think I might have to try that – thanks

    1. kate says:

      I’d no idea you could do it before I had no alternative. I might need to do a bit of repotting this winter – it’s thriving so much it’s almost filled the pot. Such an improvement (plus I don’t have to crawl around the garden on wet grass to admire it).

  2. Janneke says:

    Good idea to grow them in pots. I too thought mine had gone in the garden but surprisingly I found a flowering plant last week. When I buy new varieties I will definitely put them in pots.

    1. kate says:

      I think I might have to be very careful about them drying out – not that dry weather is normally a problems for me… and I’m not sure I’d try it with the bigger ones. Though maybe I would, in a big enough pot!

  3. They are such gorgeous blooms, love the intricate detail, and gorgeous color you captured.

    1. kate says:

      They are so perfect – wonderful to be able to study them closely without either doing my back in or being accosted by men with straightjackets!

  4. Angie says:

    I have a bit of an thing for Epimedium too. There are some that like dry conditions and some that prefer a bit more moisture. Either way, it’s important to water well until they are established.
    That’s a nice one, one I don’t have – they are fascinating plants don’t you think?

    1. kate says:

      Aren’t they lovely? Now I’ve worked out what I need to do, I think I might have a go with some others (keeping to smaller ones, though). Certainly won’t let my garden get its teeth into them again!

  5. hillwards says:

    I love epimediums too, and a couple have also disappeared here, but I’m thrilled to see new leaves have pushed up on my one remaining one – I just hope it flowers too! Yours is exquisite indeed.

    1. kate says:

      Ah ha, another epimedium-eating garden! This is exactly the position I was in last year with this survivor, and was the point at which I decided to try a pot. It’s just as well I moved it – quite apart from its very survival – as the area it was in is a carpet of sweet woodruff this year. It’s gone insane, and a sweet little epimedium would have stood no chance.

  6. Spade & Dagger says:

    Epimediums have some interesting common names, due to a chemical they contain. Is this part of their appeal, l wonder.

    1. kate says:

      Gosh, no idea about that – it might have. I just think they’re gorgeous!

  7. That’s gorgeous! I managed to do some weeding on Monday – when I should have been working, but hey, it was sunny, so I stole some time – and discovered remnants of two of my three epimedium sulphureum lurking in the tangle of weeds and aquilegia seedlings. I have carefully teased them apart from the bindweed (hrummmph) and have planted them in new spaces, and, well, at least they have been well watered in…

    1. kate says:

      Isn’t it a cutie? And it have never, ever been so good. Good luck with your sulphureums!

  8. croftgarden says:

    I have problems with epimediums too. They survive in a pathetic way but are not spreading and won’t flower. So perhaps I’ll pot some up and see if they like other parts of the garden!

    1. kate says:

      I’m absolutely stunned by how well it’s doing – give it a go!
      I just knew I had to move it or lose it, and I didn’t want anywhere else in the garden to have a nibble at it (my garden eats plants for fun), so pot it was.

      1. croftgarden says:

        Nothing ventured….? I’ll launch the Epimedium rescue as soon as it stops raining/blowing.

        1. kate says:

          Er, July? We had a sunny day yesterday (intermittently, but at least it wasn’t raining), but it was still on the chilly side and blowing a hooley…

Leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.