A Weed Smothering, Elegant, Drought Tolerant Perennial for Shade

Jun 1, 2018 | Gardens

Imagine: I can’t do a consultation for someone with a shade garden without the following plant name coming out of my mouth: Epimedium. Followed closely by the words, “weed smothering” and “easy” or “elegant.”

Name: Epimedium – various species including: x rubrum, x versicolor ‘Sulphureum,’ and grandiflorum….plus many cultivars.

Type of Plant: Perennial groundcover that’s not invasive, tolerates dry shade and has great foliage eight to ten months a year.

Why I Love this plant: With the sweet, heart shaped foliage and low growth, this plant is attractive and marries well with other shade plants such as hosta. Best of all, it’s weed smothering.

A Word to the Wise: This plant may not look like much in the pot when you buy it, so don’t judge it when it’s a young, container grown perennial. Plant it in shade or part shade and then let it do its thing. Know that some species and cultivars are more vigorous than others. If you want a variety that spreads fairly quickly, get E. x versicolor ‘Sulphureum.’

I use Epimedium as a ground cover around some of my Hydrangeas.

I love how some varieties produce red hearts in early spring.

Epimedium grows so tightly that it makes a weed-smothering ground cover. So everywhere you have planted Epimedium you won’t have to weed or mulch.

Some Epimediums have pink or purple flowers…

And some have yellow or white flowers.

And in the spring, many Epimediums have foliage that is edged in red. How can you not love this plant?


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