I Love Potentilla canadensis aka Dwarf Cinquefoil

May 25, 2024 | Love This!

Name:  Potentilla canadensis aka Dwarf Cinquefoil

Type of Plant:   Typically thought of as a weed, this is a low-growing cinquefoil for sun or part-shade.

Why I Love this Plant:  I love this plant because it’s native to this area. Dwarf cinquefoil is a pollinator support plant and small bees and flies use its nectar, while larger bees collect the pollen. The seeds are eaten by birds and rabbits will eat the leaves. It will grow in with grass in a lawn, making it good for those who want a “bee lawn.”  You could also seed it thickly as a lawn alternative

This dwarf cinquefoil combines well with little bluestem, Asclepias tuberosa, and Echinacea in meadow plantings.

A Word to the Wise: There are other, non-native cinquefoils and buttercups that have similar flowers. I recommend that you go with the native P. canadensis. You can tell the native Potentilla because the serrated edges of the leaves are pointy and jagged, while the non-natives have rounded tips on the edges.

This low-growing Potentilla makes a good partner with lawn grasses or even seeded as a lawn replacement.

Many people call all of these little yellow flowers “buttercups” but the true buttercup is a Ranunculus, not a Potentilla.


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