Abies balsamea 'Nana'

Abies balsamea 'Nana'

Friday, May 8, 2015

My favorite plant in the garden this week: Epimedium wushanense

It's been a while since I posted a favorite plant. It's been so hard to choose. There's either too many things or nothing that really catches my eye. This week, though, my Epimedium wushanense is really at its best, and it deserves a post. This meme is hosted by Loree of Danger Garden. Be sure to check in at the end of the month to see her favorites and check the comments for favorites from other bloggers.

For April bloom day and foliage follow-up, I shared these first two photos. I love watching the flower stems rising up. And the new foliage is so gorgeous. It's interesting that the new stems with flowers start out with green leaves that slowly gain the mottled colors, whereas the stems that only have leaves start getting color sooner.

A couple weeks later, the first flowers opened, hiding under the leaves.

Now they're almost all open. Each bloom is almost an inch wide from tip to tip. I think of most epimedium flowers as airy, but these densely-packed, weighty flowers deserve to be called luscious. My plant isn't very big, only a few stems, but there is a second bloom stalk that should start blooming just about the time this one finishes, prolonging the show.

The real draw with this plant, though, is the leaves, especially the new growth. The longest leaves are almost eight inches long, slightly spiny, and richly patterned in greens and reds for weeks.

Foliage like this deserves multiple shots.


You can see the old foliage below the new growth. It was barely touched by winter, so I didn't trim it back like people usually do with epimediums.

The stats on Epimedium wushanense:

  • Hardy in USDA zones 5-9
  • 18-24 inches tall (some clones are shorter or taller than this)
  • Clumps spread slowly to 30 inches or more
  • Evergreen, new growth is colorful for weeks
  • Tolerates dry shade, but prefers even moisture in rich soil
  • Blooms in early May (for me)





14 comments:

  1. Love this one for its leaves. Well worth the spotlight!

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    1. Thanks! The foliage is my favorite part, too.

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  2. It is a great plant. Mine are all bloomed out already!

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    1. Mine is in kind of a cold pocket in the yard. Everything there is a bit slow

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  3. Most Epimediums are quite dainty, but this one...wow, so dramatic.

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    1. It's definitely the biggest and flashiest of the three epimediums I have so far.

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  4. I had said that I didn't care for Epimediums then Sean gifted me one of these, so spiky! Of course I love it.

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  5. I have a number of Epimediums, but not this one. Not yet... I'll be looking for it. Those leaves are amazing.

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    1. The various forms of wushanense are my favorites in the genus, though it's a clumper. I'm looking to add some more of the spreading ground cover types to my garden, too.

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  6. It's a gorgeous plant. Despite the fact I live outside the plant's usual environs, I planted an Epimedium in my former garden. It didn't thrive but it didn't curl up and die either. Maybe I'll push my zone and try one again.

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    1. Thank, Kris! Funny that you zone push in the opposite direction as gardeners in the Northwest do. The garden is always greener on the other side, I guess.

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  7. That is a gorgeous Epimedium. I'm amazed by all the hybrids they keep developing. The red tinges on the leaves are very nice, and the elongated leaves with the spiny edges are great too. The flowers are very prolific.

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