When it comes time for the finishing touches, you can’t get much better than Barrenwort. It’s a shorter growing perennial that, with a little patience, makes a gorgeous groundcover. Small spring flowers on wire-thin stems add some subtle color mid to late spring, but it’s not like you even need the flowers – the foliage alone can hold this plant in any design. Delicate leaflets drape over one another forming a spreading mound from 10-15″ high and 1-3′ wide over time.
Planted in evenly moist, well-drained soil in part to full shade is what they love, but they are known to be very drought tolerant once established making them a solid choice for under-planting trees and upright shrubs. Most are hardy in zones 4-8. Take a look at our current selections:
Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Lilafee’ has new growth that emerges beige-bronze and quickly turns to green then to red in fall. The spidery flowers are lavender-violet.
E. x ‘Niveum’ has the small, clear-white flowers over light green foliage.
E. x youngianum ‘Roseum’ is a compact grower with small light-pink flowers. Deep crimson leaves in fall extend the interest.
E. x rubrum The new growth on this cultivar is tinted red with green veining on a pointed, somewhat larger leaf. The small flowers on this are red-purple.
E. x versicolor ‘Sulphureum’ has two-toned yellow flowers over red-tinted foliage. One of our toughest Barrenworts for dry shade. (zone 5-8)
Looking for good companions? Try Columbine (Aquilegia), Cranesbill (Geranium), Helleborus (Lenten Rose), Heuchera (Coral Bells) and Lungwort (Pulmonaria) to name a few.