University of Maryland Extension

Epimedium, Barrenwort

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groundcover epimedium
Photo and text by Ginny Williams


epimedium flower

When you think groundcovers for shade, especially dry shade, one that springs to mind is epimedium. Although it prefers rich, well-drained soil, it will grow in dry conditions. Handsome heart- or lance-shaped leaves are leathery and have bronzy pink edges that turn to green in the summer. Some cultivars keep their reddish coloration all summer, while others turn red in winter. With a height of six to twelve inches, epimedium blooms in spring with dainty white, yellow, pink, purple or lilac flowers. Although it can get vine weevils and mosaic virus, these are rarely a problem, and deer generally do not like to eat it.

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