Daily Flower Candy: Hepatica transsilvanica

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Just like snowdrops, hepaticas have recently developed something of a cult following in the UK. A fascination with these diminutive members of the buttercup family is nothing new; the Japanese have been coveting them since the early 18th century. Intense hybridisation since then means there are now over 650 named varieties displaying all manner of fabulous colours and flower structures. The leaves are not to be overlooked either, sporting a characteristic three-lobed shape which may be bronzed, marbled or lightly variegated.

Delightfully, the Japanese name ‘Yukiwariso’, translates as ‘breaking snow plant’ and gives us clues as to hepaticas’ preferences in cultivation. The plants spend the winter dormant, often buried under several feet of snow. To grow and flower well they require water as spring approaches (like melting snow) and then copious sun in February. In their natural habitat hepaticas become shaded as overhead trees come into leaf, so require light shade and drier conditions in summer. They will tolerate heavier soil provided it’s free draining and has some leafmould incorporated. The plants also appreciate a little humidity around their leaves through the year. Hepatica transsilvanica, pictured above, hails from Romania and is considered slightly more tolerant in gardens than other species. This clump was photographed at the foot of a low wall in the Marnock Garden within Sheffield’s botanical gardens at the weekend. Although not a fancy hybrid, the petals and contrasting stamens sparkled in the sunshine. As so often, nature does things best.

Categories: alpines, Flowers, Foliage, Plants

Posted by The Frustrated Gardener

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10 comments On "Daily Flower Candy: Hepatica transsilvanica"

  1. As this being my beloved homeland flower I have to comment on it 🙂 The most amazing spring flower, if you watch it closely you’ll fall in love with it forever. I grow the North Americans too but transsilvanica and nobilis are far more desirable. Excellent in containers, giving you the liberty to move them around as their request for sun changes through the season, like you mentioned (don’t worry I’ll stop here and go write more about Hepaticas on my blog 🙂

    1. I hoped you might comment as when I Googled Hepatica transsilvanica you were third in the list of sources; so therefore you must be an expert! I know very little about hepaticas so it was good to find out more. It’s a mistake letting me know they fare well in containers as now I’ll have no excuse not to try them! Another plant joins the ‘must have’ list!! Look forward to reading your next post 🙂

      1. You are too kind to call me an expert, I would like to have space to start growing more Hepaticas, especially from seeds. As soon as they start growing I will show off my ‘woodland container’ where H. americana and H. transsilvanica ‘Buis’ are growing happily together if you need even more encouragement. Day dreaming when Hepatica in flower is my favourite spring pass time 😉

  2. Oh dear, it seems my comments disappear again (a recent problem with WordPress). I have one hepatica which was the first “special” plant I got. After two years in France, I came back to my Canterbury garden thinking it would be gone, but no ! Tougher than I thought ! Thank you for sharing knowledge, gorgeous pictures – happiness really.

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