Wednesday, April 8, 2015


I have to admit that I am a clearance rack shopper.  I love to find a great buy on a plant I love.  Sometimes I am enticed to buy a plant that I don't know much about because it's a great buy. A few years ago, I found an epimedium on a clearance rack at a rock bottom price and I bought it. The first year it barely hung on but last spring, it rewarded me with those very delicate little blooms, characteristic of epimedium.  Here's a picture taken this week, and, as you can see, it looks nice, even though I never got around to cutting back the old foliage. This plant started my interest in epimedium.

Epimedium is also known by a variety of common names, including fairy wings and bishop's hat. The reason for these names is understandable when you look at the flower. It is also known as barrenwort because it was believed that the roots of the plants could cause barrenness in women. I also came across other common names that piqued my interest: horny goat weed, rowdy lamb herb, and randy beef grass.  I did some research, and it turns out that epimedium has been used in China for low libido and erectile dysfunction!

But I digress . . . back to how I became interested in epimedium. After my clearance rack purchase proved to be so delightful and durable, I decided to purchase a few more. At last year's spring plant sales, I picked up this beautiful yellow one, Epimedium x versicolor 'Sulphrite'.  Epimedium is often thought of as a groundcover plant because it tends to grow less than 2 feet tall. This one is one of the smaller ones (should stay under 1 ft) and I think its small, delicate appearance is responsible for its charm.

I also purchased this purple one last year, Epimedium grandiflorum, 'Purple Prince'.

Epimedium are great plants for several reasons. They are tough, thriving in the dry shade in my garden. They are available in a variety of sizes, flower color, and foliage color. And their little flowers are spellbinding. I'll definitely be adding to my collection! 


  1. Happy accidents :) Nothing wrong with being a clearance rack shopper!

  2. Can i get some suggestions of plants to help with deterring mosquitos and snakes? I recently moved & have over an acre in my backyard that i want to add a few trails & landscape, but its next to impossible with them back there. I have been told a few, so far i have a bit of marigolds.

  3. The plants that will work for you depend on soil and light conditions in the area. Do you have good drainage? Is it sunny or shady? The Mid- South Garden Guide (sold at many area nurseries) is a good general resource. Also ask the employees at local nurseries, they're an excellent source of local information. And, as always, call the MAMG hotline at 901-752-1207.


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