Epimediums have the power to bring me to my knees in early spring. I will gladly muddy my jeans for a glimpse of their slender stems rising through the leaf litter. I am not the first to be captivated by these charismatic plants. They have been cultivated in Asia for centuries, primarily for medicinal purposes, but many old Japanese varieties were, and still are, grown for their sheer beauty.
At a Glance
Name: Epimedium spp. and cvs.
USDA Hardiness Zones: 4–9
Conditions: Partial to full shade; average to dry, well-drained soil; ideally neutral, moisture retentive soil high in organic matter
Native Ranges: China, Japan, Korea, parts of the Mediterranean and North Africa
In the wild, epimediums (Epimedium spp. and cvs.) are found in habitats ranging from mostly sunny to deeply shaded, and in soils that range from moist to dry. The lion’s share are found on wooded hillsides, sometimes…
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