17 Lovely Epimedium Varieties for Your Shade Backyard

Epimediums are low-growing, compact perennials that deliver coloration, texture, and kind to the shade backyard for multi-season attraction. They produce colourful foliage with dramatic mottling, blotching, and venation, in addition to orchid-like flowers with delicate spurs.

The fragile look of the plant belies its sturdy nature. It’s low-maintenance and grows in situations that different perennials could discover difficult. This woodlander is right in a fan of full-shade backyard areas and tolerate dry situations when established.

Epimediums (additionally known as barrenwort and fairy wings) make pretty accents in woodland plantings, borders, rock gardens, cottage gardens, and Asian-inspired backyard plantings. Pair them in teams with different shade-loving perennials like ferns, astilbe, hellebore, wild ginger, columbine, bleeding coronary heart, and hosta for beautiful multi-season mixtures.

Epimediums develop with little gardener intervention. These carefree beauties resist deer, pests, and illnesses and tolerate deep shade and dry soils when established. Their shallow roots make them well-suited to planting beneath timber, the place they don’t compete for assets. Right here, we’ll discover epimedium varieties to enliven the backyard. This distinctive perennial is price incorporating into your plant assortment.

‘Amber Queen’

A close-up of Epimedium 'Amber Queen' flowers, showcased on slender branches against a blurred background of lush green leaves, the flowers present a captivating blend of amber and gold hues.
This woodland floor cowl is small however sturdy.

Epimedium ‘Amber Queen’ blooms in a profusion of delicate golden flowers alongside arching 24-inch stems. Spidery flowers have bronze-yellow spurs and orange-red facilities, bringing a sunny cloud of clustered blooms in spring.

Leaves are brilliant inexperienced with a rose-burgundy blush as they emerge. Vegetation are evergreen or semi-evergreen and develop two ft broad.

That is some of the vigorous varieties obtainable, hybridized by the UK’s Robin White. It has prolific flowering, mottled leaves, and rugged sturdiness. A Royal Horticultural Society Award of Backyard Benefit recipient, ‘Amber Queen’ is a small however mighty woodland floor cowl.


A close-up of Epimedium ‘Sulphureum’ showing its delicate yellow flowers blooming on thin branches.
Vegetation can develop as much as 16 inches tall and unfold to 18 inches.

Epimedium x versicolor is a putting choice for its color-changing leaves. ‘Sulphureum’ is an award-winning selection whose new leaves emerge gentle inexperienced with pink mottling, mature to deeper inexperienced, and switch pink once more within the fall. Open sprays of creamy yellow flowers seem on darkish pink stems.

E. x versicolor ‘Sulphureum’ is a recipient of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Backyard Benefit. An older hybrid chosen previous to 1849, ‘Sulphureum’ fills in additional shortly than different varieties and has a very powerful nature, sturdy in dry shade.

Evergreen foliage superbly contrasts the sunshine flower scapes. Vegetation attain 12 inches tall and unfold as much as 18 inches.


A close-up of Epimedium ‘Domino’ highlighting its unique dark violet and white flowers against lush green foliage.
Established vegetation produce plentiful bloom spikes for a colourful spring.

‘Domino’ is a hybrid from famend breeder Darrel Probst of Massachusetts, who’s accountable for many epimedium introductions cherished in as we speak’s gardens. ‘Domino’ brings dancing flowers with white spurs and deep pink facilities on two-foot-tall flower spikes. In early spring, blooms seem in plenty.

Evergreen foliage is deep inexperienced and mottled with darkish purple-burgundy. Knowledgeable Tony Avent of Plant Delights Nursery advises that the engaging foliage could persist nicely into spring however is finest in the reduction of earlier than delicate new progress and bloom spikes emerge to make room. Their established ‘Domino’ epimediums produce a great deal of bloom spikes for a floriferous spring show.

E. ‘Domino’ is one other award-winning selection. The Royal Horticultural Society deemed it worthy of the celebrated Award of Backyard Benefit for its backyard efficiency.


A close-up of Epimedium ‘Lilafee’ reveals delicate lavender flowers, against a backdrop of lush green foliage.
This selection is a compact plant that prospers in shade.

Epimedium grandiflorum is among the unique species in cultivation and some of the vigorous growers. It’s additionally the guardian plant to many further cultivars.

Spring foliage emerges with a bronze-purple tinge and matures to medium inexperienced. E. grandiflorum ‘Lilafee’ boasts clusters of lavender-violet flowers and evergreen foliage (besides in colder climates, zones 5 and 6, the place it’s largely deciduous).

E. grandiflorum ‘Lilafee’ grows to 18 inches tall and as much as two ft broad. It’s native to deciduous woodlands in Japan, Manchuria, and Korea. The vegetation tolerate deep shade and dry websites however will not be suited to alkaline soils. They develop finest in impartial or solely barely acidic soils.

‘Fairly in Pink’

A close-up of Epimedium ‘Pretty in Pink’ showcases charming purple flowers with delicate stamens, set against a backdrop of vibrant green leaves.
‘Fairly in Pink’ showcases berry hues, from flowers to leaves.

This cultivar delights in berry hues of rose, blush, and pale pink from its flowers to its leaves. Blooms on upright stems have pale pink spurs, deep pink backs, and rose facilities.

Epimedium ‘Fairly in Pink’ has brilliant inexperienced heart-shaped leaves with bronze rose patterning. The leaves drop late within the chilly season, offering multi-season curiosity.

‘Fairly in Pink’ is a Plant Delights Nursery/Juniper Stage Botanic Backyard introduction. An Epimedium grandiflorum hybrid, it bears powerful and vigorous qualities in a stunning kind. The vegetation are lower-growing, at 24 inches tall, with an expansion of two to 3 ft.


A close-up reveals the delicate white flowers of Epimedium ‘Niveum’, nestled amidst thin branches, accompanied by vibrant green leaves, all set against a blurred woodland backdrop.
This plant boasts white star flowers with yellow facilities.

This snowy fairy wing options clusters of white flowers that bloom later within the season than different varieties. It’s chilly hardy all the way down to zone 4. New progress emerges brilliant inexperienced with pink streaks and blushes. Leaves flip inexperienced in the summertime and bronzey-red within the fall.

E. x youngianum ‘Niveum’ has pure white star flowers with yellow facilities that bloom on pink stems in late spring. A petite and compact kind, ‘Niveum’ grows six to eight inches tall with an expansion of 1 and a half ft

E. x youngianum is a hybrid between E. diphyllum and E. grandiflorum and one other Royal Horticultural Society Award of Backyard Benefit recipient. This deciduous epimedium brightens the shade backyard with its brilliant flowers and foliage curiosity in spring, summer season, and fall. Search for E. x youngianum ‘Royal Flush’ for a variety with vibrant pink younger leaves.

‘Orange Queen’

A close-up of the striking orange blooms of Epimedium ‘Orange Queen’, framed by the lush leaves and slender branches.
Medium inexperienced leaves with purple-red tinges emerge in spring.

‘Orange Queen’ enchants with cups of coppery orange blooms in mid to late spring. The four-petaled flowers don’t have the lengthy spurs of different varieties, displaying off their good petal association. The crisp blooms stand out in mellow pink, orange, and gold shades.

In spring, medium inexperienced leaves emerge with purple-red tinges. They transition to completely inexperienced in summer season and a bronzy pink within the fall.

Epimedium x warleyense is an effective cold-climate choice. It’s winter hardy to zone 5 and evergreen in hotter climates. E. x warleyense is smaller and shorter than different epimediums and has an expansion of 1 to 2 ft. Synonyms for ‘Orange Queen’ embody ‘Orangekönigin’.


A close-up of Epimedium ‘Songbirds’, showcasing delicate yellow flowers with red-streaked petals, nestled among heart-shaped green leaves with reddish edges.
Flowers are giant, golden, with rosy pink facilities.

The sweetness is within the particulars of epimediums—delicate blooms above color-changing foliage on compact vegetation. For ‘Songbirds’, it’s additionally in its plenty of blooms that cowl vegetation in profusion. ‘Songbirds’ is among the many most flowering epimediums, and its yellow spider blooms grace prolific flower stalks in abundance. Wiry stems rise nicely above the mounding foliage. 

With upright, arching spurs, every flower of E. ‘Songbirds’ resembles just a little fowl becoming a member of its flock. The flowers are giant and golden with rosy pink facilities. ‘Songbirds’ flowers later in spring however has an extended bloom time amongst epimediums.

The foliage of ‘Songbirds’ is inexperienced and lance-shaped, with some purple recognizing. Vegetation are evergreen in gentle climates for curiosity nicely into winter.

‘Pink Champagne’

A close-up of Epimedium ‘Pink Champagne’, featuring dainty pink flowers with creamy centers and spurs, adorned by glossy, serrated green leaves flushed with bronze.
Vegetation clump and unfold two to 3 ft.

‘Pink Champagne’ brings rose tones to the shade backyard. Flowers have lengthy white spurs with a pink blush and deep raspberry facilities. Like ‘Fairly in Pink’, this selection options gentle and deep berry tones for a little bit of woodland sparkle. ‘Pink Champagne’ is taller than ‘Fairly in Pink’.

Lengthy, lanced semi-evergreen leaves have darkish purple speckles and a pinky-red blush, extra distinguished with new spring leaves. Vegetation clump and unfold two to 3 ft.

‘Pink Champagne’ is a Royal Horticultural Society Award of Backyard Benefit recipient. Its wands of ethereal flowers seem in open sprays in mid to late spring.


 A close-up of Epimedium ‘Sweetheart’ showcasing fully bloomed Epimedium grandiflorum flowers with delicate pink petals, surrounded by slender branches, and vibrant green leaves.
The engaging foliage showcases reddish hues in each spring and fall.

‘Sweeheart’s’ flowers are spurless or have brief spurs. They’ve pale yellow and creamy white petals surrounded by rose-red sepals. Crimson and yellow tones give a robust distinction among the many blooms.

Probably the most distinctive options of ‘Sweetheart’ is its brilliant inexperienced heart-shaped leaves with putting pink edges in spring. The leaves mature to inexperienced in summer season, gaining a pink blush in fall. 

E. rubrum is a cross between E. grandiflorum and E. alpinum and is a vigorous grower amongst epimediums. Enticing foliage is reddish each in spring and fall.

‘Sandy Claws’

A close-up of Epimedium ‘Sandy Claws’ featuring dainty flowers nestled on slender branches, complemented by the distinctive foliage characterized by its glossy, heart-shaped leaves in varying shades of green.
Leaves mature to deep inexperienced in summer season on low.

‘Sandy Claws’ boasts dramatic foliage in deep pink, chocolatey-rose hues. Lance-shaped leaves are lengthy and lined with spines. In mid-spring, creamy flowers seem in packed clusters on stems simply above the foliage.

Leaves mature to deep inexperienced in summer season on low, spreading vegetation that kind clumps as much as 4 ft. This choice prefers barely extra reasonable climates and is hardy to zone 6.

‘Sandy Claws’ is a hybrid of the Chinese language Epimedium wushanense, cultivated by Darrel Probst. It’s also called ‘Spiny Leaves’. 

‘Backbone Tingler’

A close-up of Epimedium 'Spine Tingler', featuring the vivid green spiky leaves, densely packed and elegantly arranged.
This selection has obtained the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Backyard Benefit.

‘Backbone Tingler’ is just like ‘Sandy Claws’, though smaller in stature. Spiny eaves are lower than one inch broad and emerge with a chocolate-rose tinge in spring. Smooth yellow flower clusters with curving petals are brief and float simply above the foliage.

‘Backbone Tingler’ is one other Royal Horticultural Society Award of Backyard Benefit recipient and Darrel Probst introduction. Vegetation are hardy not less than to zone 5, with some growers noting them as overwintering as little as zone 4.


A close-up of Epimedium 'Kaguyahime', showcasing delicate pink and white flowers with intricate, star-like patterns, surrounded by glossy, heart-shaped leaves.
‘Kaguyahime’ epimediums bloom profusely in woodland plantings.

Epimedium ‘Kaguyahime’ hails from famend plantsmen Mikinori Ogisu of Japan, who pioneered lots of the varieties in cultivation. This beautiful specimen has flowers with pinky rose sepals surrounding deep purple-red petals. 

‘Kaguyahime’ blooms are medium-sized however flower in profusion. Flower clusters rise above spreading foliage on 15- to 18-inch wiry stems. The plant’s giant leaves are lengthy and pointed arrows with spiny edges, and younger leaves bear heavy pink mottling.

‘Kaguyahime’ displays the title of a princess in a historic Japanese story and means “Shining Princess.” This epimedium is certain to shine within the springtime woodland planting.

‘Cherry Hearts’

A close-up of Epimedium 'Cherry Hearts' reveals delicate white flowers with intricate detailing and subtle pink accents, set against a backdrop of vibrant heart-shaped leaves.
This plant thrives in reasonable winters, forming tight clumps.

‘Cherry Hearts’ delights with its brilliant inexperienced foliage with painterly pink edges. The guts-shaped leaves and pink outlines create a candy, contemporary groundcover show. White flowers seem on one-foot stalks.

‘Sweet Hearts’ is a range just like ‘Cherry Hearts’. It options lavender blooms above red-edged leaves.

Epimedium x sempervirens is an evergreen plant that thrives in areas with reasonable winters. It kinds tight clumps and spreads barely one to 2 ft.


The plant kinds one- to two-foot clumps.

Epimedium ‘Rigoletto’ (or ‘Akame’) bears lance-leaved evergreen foliage. Gentle spots of coppery pink dot gentle inexperienced leaves.

Decorative blooms in mid to late spring have brief, rose-red sepals with creamy white tips about the spurs and yellow-orange facilities. Leaves are slim and heart-shaped for a full, delicate look.

‘Rigoletto’ is an Ogisu discovery of a naturally occurring cross. The vegetation kind one- to two-foot clumps.


A close-up of Epimedium ‘Frohnleiten’, featuring delicate yellow flowers with spidery petals and prominent stamens, set against slender, arching branches, with vibrant green leaves creating a lush background.
It is a putting small plant with vibrant foliage and flowers.

‘Frohnleiten’ is a traditional cultivar and a longstanding backyard favourite. Sunny yellow flower clusters seem first in early spring, adopted by putting foliage. Blooms are waxy with 4 rounded petals with out the lengthy spurs of extra spidery choices.

Younger leaves are burgundy pink with brilliant inexperienced venation for a dramatic distinction. The guts-shaped evergreen leaves mature from pink to inexperienced in the summertime and tackle bronzy-maroon mottling within the fall.

Compact vegetation kind dense clumps 18 inches broad for a sturdy floor cowl. ‘Frohnleiten’ is extra dwarf than the species (which reaches one to 2 ft) however has brighter, taller blooms. It is a exceptional little fairy wing in foliage and flowers.


A close-up of Epimedium ‘Bandit’, showcasing elegant white flowers with intricate markings, emerging from a dense cluster of glossy, serrated leaves and wiry, burgundy-hued stems.
Mature leaves flip all inexperienced in summer season.

The cold-hardy fairy wings ‘Bandit’ steals the present for each springtime foliage and flowers. Starry white flowers with lengthy spurs seem in plenty above low leaves (beneath six inches tall), which grow to be bigger with a second flush. 

Contemporary leaves unfurl to a pink blush backed by brilliant inexperienced veins and leaves transition to inexperienced with a burgundy-purple border for a putting distinction. The second flush of bigger leaves additionally boasts this dramatic foliar distinction with long-lasting coloration. Leaves mature to all inexperienced in summer season.

‘Bandit’ is a small epimedium with an expansion of 1 foot. It’s a petite plant full of seasonal curiosity.

Closing Ideas:

Enticing and straightforward to develop, epimedium varieties develop in an array of coloration choices in each flower and leaf. Many characteristic kaleidoscopic leaves with distinctive coloration transitions in spring, summer season, and fall. Flowers emerge in spring in an array of colours and kinds.

For gardeners aware of rising epimediums, they’re seemingly amongst your favourite woodland and shade backyard floor covers . These low-maintenance, long-lived fairy wings are delicate and sturdy within the panorama. We must always develop extra of those shade-loving perennials in our backyard collections.

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