Plant of the Month – February 2012

Winter aconite - close up

Winter aconites (Eranthis hyemalis) are a plant that takes me back to my childhood as the garden I grew up in had a lovely clump under an Indian Bean Tree. They are just so unreservedly cheerful at a time of year when cheer can be in small supply that I felt they deserved to be Plant of the Month, especially when everyone is cooing over snowdrops and ignoring them.

I’ve never actually planted them, just enjoyed existing ones and since they require very little care don’t have much advice if you want to grow them. They seem to be available ‘in the green’ like snowdrops and as dry bulbs. Unless I needed a lot of them I think I’d err on the side of caution and buy them pot grown though. They are doing fine on our clay but a quick googling suggests they don’t like wet feet . They do fine under trees in grass. Somewhere a little scrappiness won’t be a problem is best as the broad leaves which hang around for a little while after flowering and need to be left to die down naturally.

Winter aconite

See? They’ve chased away the February gloom already, haven’t they?

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9 responses to “Plant of the Month – February 2012

  1. Wish I could buy them in the green, (or a pot) in Canada, they only seem to sell them as dry bulbs in the autumn. I have tried twice to establish them, and probably only a third bloomed. They are such a ray of sunshine.

  2. I have planted the dry bulbs but they are hit and miss…I may move some to under the trees where it is drier.

  3. I’ve never seen them for sale in the green. They are lovely! Will keep on searching.

  4. Wow, so pretty planted in large drifts in the grass. They do multiply which is great in making larger groupings.

  5. Pretty pretty. None in my garden yet, but someday soon perhaps. They are a bright spot in the gloom.

  6. I have Eranthis and bought them as dry bulbs and they are fine. I have clay soil too and grow them under my trees. I also have some growing from seed which is rather exciting

  7. I bought them as dry bulbs too and they have taken very well. I looked at some in pots in the garden centre the other day and they seem very stretched and a bit gangly. Not so good.

  8. So it seems my concerns about growing them from dry bulbs may be misplaced! Thanks Janet and Patientgardener for the info.

  9. It’s a shame that so many Winter Aconite bulbs are sold only to fail.
    There are two other great plants for February:
    Ranunculus Lemon Dazzler has marbled foliage with creamy-yellow flowers – yes in February if mild!
    The second is Ranunculus Brazen Hussy which has black leaves and gold flowers:
    http://boundarynursery.co.uk/shop-for-plants/ranunculus-ficaria-brazen-hussy-alpine/

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