A very large genus of around 500 species of mostly shrubs and herbaceous perennials from throughout the northern hemisphere, Potentilla are grown for their pretty, five-petaled, saucer-, cup-, or star-shaped flowers that bloom from spring to autumn. The leaves may be pinnate or palmate and often have prominent veins and wrinkles. Various species are great in a shrub or mixed border, in rock gardens, or as low hedges. Clumping hybrids sometimes have semi-double or double flowers and strawberry-like foliage.
Noteworthy CharacteristicsFive-petaled flowers in white, yellow, orange, pink, or red bloom over a long period.
CareGrow rock-garden species in poor, gritty, sharply drained soil. Other species prefer poor to moderately fertile, well-drained soil in full sun.
PropagationPerennials may be divided in autumn or spring, while shrubs can be propagated from greenwood cuttings taken in early summer. Sow seed in containers in a cold frame in spring or autumn.
ProblemsDowny mildew, powdery mildew, leaf blister, rust, and fungal leaf spots can affect plants.