Are you looking for a vigorous plant for partial shade that displays beautiful foliage all season long as well as producing flowers that are ideal for cut bouquets? Look no further than Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla mollis).
Lady’s Mantle’s large circular, scalloped leaves are pubescent and velvety soft to the touch. This pubescence captures moisture, whether from rainfall, morning dew or overhead sprinkling, and holds it in exquisite reflective droplets. The toothed edges of the leaves also hold droplets of water to create a string-of-sparkling-jewels effect. The genus name Alchemilla derives from the word “alchemy”, as the water that collected on the leaves was believed to have magical powers and was collected for use in herbal medicines and potions.
Alchemilla is a vigorous clumping perennial that thrives in partial shade and prefers growing in moisture retentive soil. Given these conditions it will exhibit great vigor and makes an excellent taller groundcover, reaching a mature height of 15”-18” in full flower. It is especially lovely as a border plant, where it will gracefully drape over steppingstones or garden edging. It is also valuable as a textural contrast plant when combined with other shade foliage plants such as ferns or woodland grasses.
Lady’s Mantle will self-sow readily if not deadheaded, so it is a bonus that its flowers make a perfect filler for floral bouquets. Although Lady’s Mantle has long been valued by gardeners for its foliage it is only recently that American gardeners have come to appreciate the clusters of chartreuse flowers, borne in early summer. Many American gardeners used to shear the flowers off this plant but in recent years Alchemilla flowers have become popular in the European – and now American – cut flower trade, used as a filler flower for floral arrangements.
- Hardiness Zone: Hardy to Zone 3
- Exposure: Partial Shade (although adaptable to full sun and significant shade)
- Height: 15”-18”