growing horny goat weed

Growing horny goat weed

Apply 2 to 3 inches of compost to the top of the soil, completely surrounding the horny goat weed, in early spring.

Add 2 inches of peat moss and 3 inches of compost to the planting soil and mix it into the top 10 inches. This will start your horny goat weed off right by giving it a rich soil in which to grow.

Dig planting holes, 8 to 10 inches apart, that are the same depth and three times the width of the nursery pot in which the horny goat weed is growing. Gently remove the plants from the pots and place the roots in the hole. Backfill the hole with soil, pressing lightly around the base of the plants.

Water the horny goat weed immediately after planting and keep the soil moist at all times. During hot, dry or windy weather, check the soil more frequently and water if needed.

Cut off any winter-damaged foliage and stems in the spring. Don’t be afraid to trim the entire plant back to the ground if needed, as it will grow right back.

I was completely charmed, however, by the tiny cultivar Epimedium x youngianum Niveum, with small pearl-like buds that open into pure white flowers over the plant’s six-to-eight-inch-tall foliage.

In China, many epimediums grow on limestone, but they’ve proved adaptable to our acidic soils. And though unclean dividing practices can make them susceptible to foliar viruses, these tough plants are relatively pest free and unpalatable to many animals, including rabbits and deer.

Don’t get the idea that this perennial will claim center stage in the garden, however. Epimediums are not large, showy plants such as bleeding hearts (Dicentra) or foxgloves (Digitalis), but will fill the role of a character-filled supporting player, like lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis) or forget-me-not (Myosotis scorpioides).

Most epimediums grow between six inches and two feet tall and offer attractive heart-shaped to arrow-shaped foliage. Depending on the species, the number of flowers produced can vary from just a few to more than a hundred on each wire-like stem. Individual flowers typically last just a few days and then shatter before being replaced by new blooms. Flower colors include white, pink, rose, purple, yellow, orange, and red, or can be bicolored or combinations of several colors, but blooms are typically small.

A perfect addition to any woodland shade garden, epimediums are an easy-to-grow perennial ground cover or clumping plant that thrives in well-drained, moisture retentive soils. Once established, most species will tolerate dry shade, making them an excellent choice for planting among shallow-rooted trees and shrubs, or in drought prone areas.

If you’re the type of gardener who waits with bated breath for the next plant craze, inhale and wait no longer. Epimedium, a long-familiar plant with the unfortunate common names of barrenwort and horny goat weed, has made a meteoric rise with the introduction of many new species from Asia and is likely to be called by its more fanciful alias — fairy wings — a sure sign of rising popularity.

The type I’ve grown the longest is Epimedium x rubrum, a hybrid that grows eight to 13 inches tall and spreads faster than many of its kin, forming a clump that is roughly a foot in diameter. New growth, with appears in early spring, has a reddish tinge; the three quarter-inch flowers which follow have rosy red sepals and creamy petals.

Last week on a nursery-hopping trip to Georgia, I added two new epimediums to my collection, both offering delicate white flowers. The largest of the pair, Epimedium grandiflorum, lives up to the fairy wing moniker, with eye-catching, long-spurred flowers that bloom for a month or more above foliage that grows to 15-inches tall.

To grow epimediums in Southern gardens like ours, take care to amend heavy soil to improve drainage and keep the plants in the shade. Experts recommend shearing away old foliage in late winter before new growth emerges. Divisions are best taken in fall, from late August into early October.

2 A rich, compost, preferably with plenty of leaf mould, gives Epimedium an excellent start.

I am rarely a fan of variegated foliage but I would rather that than dreary bare patches under trees. Enter the Epimedium a low-growing ground cover plant that enjoys woodland shade and whose leaves, sometimes heart-shaped, come in pale green through to purple, some mottling their way through the seasons. You may have noticed their pretty, discreet flowers nodding their heads in woodlands from early spring.

1 Shade appreciation is one of the great pluses of Epimedium which is also know as Horny Goat Weed. They also tolerate some sun.

3 Wind can be a problem for some Chinese varieties. These should be started in a sheltered part of the

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