ALCHEMYLLA – lady’s mantle

Popular hardy perennials, grown for their attractive, curly-edged foliage as much as for their delicate sprays of tiny greenish-yellow flowers. Small, fine hairs give the leaves a silvery look and after rain they retain shimmering droplets.

Suitable site and soil. Plant in the front of herbaceous and shrub borders where they can spill out over a path, site them in a rock garden, or use as ground cover in partial shade. They need a well-drained soil; never plant in waterlogged ground. They tolerate a sunny position but prefer shade.

Cultivation and care. Plant in spring or autumn and water in well. To prevent self seeding cut back flower stems to 2.5cm – 1 inch above the ground in autumn before seeds ripen and fall or they can become invasive.

Propagation. Alchemillas seed themselves freely if allowed to do so and can then be lifted and planted where needed. Alternatively, you can sow seed outdoors in the spring. Plants can be divided in spring or autumn.

Recommended varieties. A. mollis has beautifully ‘pleated’ grey-green leaves and frothy sprays of lime green or sulphur yellow summer flowers. Height, 15-30cm – 6-12in; spread, 45-60cm – 18-24in. A. alpina has delicate, pale yellow summer flowers and is just 10cm – 4in high; ideal for a bank. A. con-juncta is neat and clump-forming with greenish-yellow flowers. A. erythropoda has more unusual red flowers.

Pests and diseases. Generally trouble free.

PLANTING TIP

Alchemillas have a sprawling habit, which makes them ideal for softening the edges of a straight path. Cut back if they start to become too straggly or unruly.

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