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Epimedium selections


Barrenwort is a rare plant -- one that thrives in the dry shade beneath shallow-rooted trees! It spreads at a moderate rate, forming a graceful, dense groundcover. Almost as a bonus, it also produces dainty flowers shaped like a bishop's miter -- prompting another common name, bishop's cap. Its colorful foliage dangles on slender stalks, providing yet another moniker: fairy wings.

Part Sun,Shade
Plant Type:
Plant Height:
6-18 inches tall
Plant Width:
12-24 inches wide
Landscape Uses:
Containers,Beds & Borders,Groundcover
Special Features:
Flowers,Attractive Foliage,Fall Color,Winter Interest,Drought Tolerant,Easy to Grow
Top Varieties

Epimedium rubrum foliage is red along the edges and has rosy undertones. Its color intensifies where it receives ample sun before trees leaf out in spring. Zones 4-9
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Epimedium grandiflorum 'Rose Queen' has the largest flowers of the group at 1-3/4 inches wide. It grows 1 foot tall. Zones 5-8
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Epimedium x versicolor 'Sulphureum' has whitish blooms with a yellow center. Its evergreen foliage grows 8-12 inches tall. Zones 5-9
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Plant It With

Hellebore is another tough shade plant with early bloom and attractive foliage.


The spurred blooms of columbine echo the form of barrenwort blooms but on a grander scale. Use smaller columbines to maintain a pleasing proportion in size.

Perennial geranium

The purple, blue, and magenta blooms of perennial geranium peak along with barrenwort, but by choosing long-blooming varieties such as 'Rozanne' or 'Jolly Bee' you can have color in the shade nearly all summer.