Great Plant Pick: Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Purple Prince’

Epimedium grandiflorum “Purple Prince” has dainty flowers with colorful new foliage come spring. (Richie Steffen)

Epimedium grandiflorum “Purple Prince” has dainty flowers with colorful new foliage come spring. (Richie Steffen)

What: Epimedium grandiflorum “Purple Prince” has striking dark red-purple flowers with white tipped spurs in the springtime. The leaves morph from green flushed with red to all green by summer and go dormant in autumn. This perennial with colorful foilage goes by many names: Purple Prince epimedium, fairy wings, bishop’s hat, barrenwort.

Where: It grows best in rich, well-drained soil in light to open shade; morning sun and afternoon shade is excellent. Dappled to deep shade will greatly reduce flowering.

Size: The purple plant grows to be 1 foot 6 inches tall and 2 feet wide when mature.

Care: Water regularly — at least once a week — or more frequently for lush, robust plants. This cultivar has deciduous foliage that dies back in autumn and can be cut back any time after that, but be sure to cut the leafy stems to the ground before new foliage and flowers begin to emerge in springtime.

— Richie Steffen, Great Plant Picks

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