How to grow epimediums

Starry, light and dark pink epimedium flowers with elongate petals

Epimediums have heart-shaped leaves and a spreading habit, and are a natural fit for shady borders tricky, dry areas under trees and shrubs.

The foliage means they’re prized as ground cover plants, but the tiny, star-like flowers in spring are beautiful. They complement spring bulbs, hellebores and other early-flowering plants of woodland origin.

Check out our handy epimedium Grow Guide, below.

Keep your epimediums happy with a regular mulch of garden compost or leaf mould.


Where to plant epimediums

Epimedium growing with fern
Pink epimedium growing beside a fern

Epimediums are generally hardy plants. Being woodland plants, the soil conditions need to be similar to the fertile, free-draining soils found under trees, with a high leaf mould content and a slightly acidic pH. They like dappled shade, although some varieties will tolerate more direct sunlight.

Epimediums can be planted in dry locations, under trees and shrubs or near walls.

How to plant epimediums

Epimedium growing in the soil
Pink and yellow epimedium flowers

Prepare the soil by adding plenty of leaf mould. Dig a generous hole, tease out the roots of your plant and gently firm in the soil around it. Water in well.

How to look after epimediums

Cutting back old epimedium leaves
Cutting back old epimedium leaves with secateurs

Keep your epimediums happy with a regular mulch of garden compost or leaf mould.

Many epimedium varieties are semi-evergreen and will keep their leaves through the winter months, which protects the crown of the plant. But by springtime, the leaves will be looking a bit tatty. For the best foliage display, cut back these old leaves before the flowers appear.

Propagating epimediums

Epimediums are best propagated by division in the autumn.

Here, Carol Klein explains how to divide epidemiums to reinvigorate and increase your stock of them:

Epimediums: problem solving

Epimedium pubigerum
White Epimedium pubigerum

Given the right growing conditions, epimediums are relatively trouble-free.

In this short video guide, the experts at Hedgehog Plants & Gardens share their top tips for growing epimediums, including how to protect them from vine weevil.

Epimedium varieties to try

Epimedium 'Wudang Star'
White and yellow epimedium ‘Wudang Star’
  • Epimedium ‘Amber Queen’ – produces a mass of amber-yellow coloured flowers from April to June
  • Epimedium ‘Pink Champagne’ – a hybrid cultivar, with attractive bronze-red foliage and pink-red hanging flowers
  • Epimedium stellulatum ‘Wudang Star’ – this was collected from the wild in China by Roy Lancaster in 1983. It produces low-growing clumps of leathery, spiny foliage. In mid- to late spring, white, star-shaped flowers appear above the foliage
  • Epimedium x perralchicum – forming a large clump of glossy, heart-shaped deep green leaves, which are flushed bronze in spring and autumn, tiny pendent, bright yellow flowers appear on delicate wiry stems, from mid- to late-spring
  • Epimedium x rubrum – with bronze young leaves, which darken to red-brown in autumn. In late spring tiny, crimson and pale yellow flowers appear on wiry stems

Discover more beautiful epimediums to grow.

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