Among time most delightful of our spring wildflowers, hepaticas are, perhaps, the easiest to make happy in our gardens, in shady nooks and corners where soil holds dampness and the sun’s intense heat does not reach them.
Thriving among or along the dark side of deciduous shrubs, they welcome the leaves that drift loosely over them and push up through the leafy cover in early spring.
Hepaticas obligingly increase when they are pleased. They need generous amounts of fine leaf mold to stretch their roots. A mulch of leafy compost holds moisture and keeps the roots cool.
Apply it after the blooms have faded and again in late fall, and you will be repaid with specimen plants that far outshine those growing in the wild.
The handsome foliage will be retained throughout the summer months. In the autumn, it crumples down over the root crown.
This is nature’s method of protecting the buds through cold winter days. Fuzzy-coated buds are waiting with bowed heads for warm spring rains to wake them to life so they may stretch up and expand their delicate fragrant flowers.
Colors For The Hock Garden
The shady rock garden is ideal for them, with stones for their roots to reach under for excellent, moist soil.
What a pleasing picture a soft-blue flowered hepatica presents with a cream-colored sandstone for a background! Or one with deep pink flowers near gray limestone!
Hepatica acutiloba supplies a relatively wide range of colors, perhaps more so than Hepatica Americana.
Lovely true pinks are to be found, deep shades of wine, and all shades of blue, lavender, and purple. In addition, pure whites and blues with white edges provide comb nations with deeper colors.
Pink-flowered hepaticas combine well with the pink and the white anemone, or rue-anemone. Deep blues or purples are good among yellow primroses.
Pale blues and white interplanted with scillas and chionodoxa provide a lovely carpet of color. Erythronium is a good companion and requires the same growing conditions.
They Come From Seed
If you are fortunate to have access to a wooded plot where hepaticas make their home, selecting choice colors for just the right spot in your garden will be fun. Otherwise, nurseries growing native material can supply you with a start.
Seeds are usually properly set if plants are undisturbed, and the little seedlings will appear late the next spring if the fine mulch of leaf mold was not forgotten the year before.
Seedlings are slow to grow for the first year or two, but by the third year, one may look for at least a lone flower stem. From then on, they make good progress and soon develop into sizeable clumps.
44659 by Eunice V. Fisher