Woody Potentillas are popular plants for the shrub border. These small-leaved compact bushes bear bright flowers all summer long – a property shared with the herbaceous Potentillas grown in the flower border. The herbaceous varieties, however, do not form neat clumps like their woody relatives – they have weak sprawling stems and strawberrylike leaves. Grow them close to the front of the border, mulch around the shoots in spring, and provide support for the stems. Water in dry weather and your reward will be a continual display of bright saucer-shaped flowers. Cut down the stems in autumn; lift and replant every three years.

VARIETIES: The named garden hybrids have been developed from P. nepalensis, P. atrosanguinea and P. argophylla – basic details of these hybrids are height 1 -2 ft. Spacing 1.5 ft.

Flowering period: June-September. The popular trio are ‘Miss Willmott’ (red), ‘Gibson’s Scarlet’ (red) and ‘William Rollisson’ (semi-double, deep orange, yellow reverse). The most colourful variety is ‘Firedance’ – red-centred and yellow-fringed blooms borne in great profusion.

SITE AND SOIL: Any well-drained soil will do – thrives best in full sun.

PROPAGATION: Divide clumps in autumn or spring.

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