HARDY PERENNIALS: FILIPENDULA

It would be misleading to apply the common name ‘Meadowsweet’ to all the Filipendulas, since it applies only to the wild F. ulmaria, of which only one form is of real garden value. This is the golden leaved F. ulmaria aurea which, given fairly moist soil with some shade, makes a most attractive mound from its foliage alone, from April to October. The flowers are non descript and the 2 feet stems are best cut back once they reach full height to promote renewed foliage. F. palmata rubra (syn. purpurea) needs similar conditions of shade and moisture, and the leafy bushes are topped with glowing rosy crimson heads 3 feet high in June-July. This is a choice plant, but F. elegantissima, with glistening pink is more robust and less in need of shade. It grows to 4 feet and there is a similar but much dwarfer pink species in F. palmata ele-gans. F. digitata nana makes hummocky growth, with deep green fingered leaves and has deep red flowers on 10 inches stems from June to August. AH these are responsive to moisture and plenty of humus, but have a rather brief period in flower if this is denied. All are easy and safe to divide in autumn or spring. The one Fili-pendula suitable for ordinary soil, even if dry, is F. hexa-petala, but the type is much inferior to F. hexapetala plena, which carries dazzling heads of white flowers in June-July. The 2 feet stems rise from deep green carrotty foliage and the roots are somewhat woody. F. hexapetala grandiflora grows 2 ½ -3 feet and the heads of creamy white are slightly scented, as well as being attractive to bees. The two last named are long lived and trouble free, but mulching as for Astilbes, is advised for the remainder.

FILIPENDULA hexapetala grandiflora

FILIPENDULA hexapetala grandiflora

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