Splendid wild ginger has green and silver patterned leaves and curious-looking brown and purple flowers. (Richie Steffen)

Splendid wild ginger has green and silver patterned leaves and curious-looking brown and purple flowers. (Richie Steffen)

Great Plant Pick: Asarum splendens, splendid wild ginger

Chinese wild ginger has green and silver patterned leaves and curious-looking brown and purple flowers.

What: Asarum splendens is commonly called splendid wild ginger. The plant is aptly named, for it is indeed splendid. Emerging in spring, its leaves are large, lustrous dark green overlaid with silver patterns. Turn the leaf over and it is a deep purple beneath. Curious dark chocolate-brown and purple cup-shaped flowers appear in late winter.

Where: This Chinese wild ginger prefers open to deep shade. It is tolerant of a variety of soil conditions, preferring rich well-drained locations but tolerating sand and clay.

Size: Asarum splendens grows to be 9 inches tall and 1-foot-9-inches wide when mature.

Care: For best growth, provide regular watering during dry weather. The leaves can be cut back in late January to reveal the strange flowers near the crown of the plant. The new growth is susceptible to slug damage; use slug control until the foliage matures in early summer.

— Richie Steffen, Great Plant Pick

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