Growing Pulsatilla

The genus Pulsatilla are a group of attractive perennial wildflowers native to the Northern hemisphere and distributed across a wide range of Europe and SW Asia. In our own gardens we can enjoy growing Pulsatilla for their magical early spring flowers. The flowers are soft and the foliage is covered in delicate grey-green hairy foliage. After flowering the attractive silky seed heads last for many months.

_DSC7954

In the wild Pulsatilla grow in grasslands where the soils are alkaline and of limestone origin. They are herbaceous which means they die down in winter by losing their leaves and they also have deep tap roots.  In early spring the leaves re-emerge before they flower and tend to bloom for many weeks. Often called the Pasque flower as they bloom at Easter and make an ideal companion plant for many early spring flowering bulbs such as miniature daffodils, crocus and muscari. Like many of these, Pulsatilla are an invaluable source of early season nectar for pollinators such as bees.

602031F1-D78B-48F4-9DEB-F48C3E7FF1F0

Plant Pulsatilla in well-drained, alkaline soils with full to partial sun. In wetter climates, these herbaceous perennials are best situated on sloping beds, a rockery and in raised beds so their roots don’t sit in waterlogged soil over the winter season. They thrive in cold weather and look particularly beautiful with a dusting of morning frost on their silvery foliage. Each year it is a good idea to allow the plants to release their seeds before cutting off the old flowers stalks to allow them to gently re-seed themselves in your garden. Once young seedlings emerge they can be transplanted without too much difficulty to your desired location. Once established they produce those long, deep tap roots and do not like being moved so leave them in their situation.

Pulsatilla vulgaris (lilac form)

 

Published by

Kirsty Wilson

Horticulture is my inspiration! I am the Herbaceous Supervisor at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Photographer, Award winning Garden Designer and Beechgrove Garden television presenter. I want to inspire people to grow plants, connect with nature and have a positive impact on the world.

One thought on “Growing Pulsatilla”

  1. I had Pulsatilla in the garden many years ago, but it didn’t do well on our heavy clay soil. I’m sure, after reading your post, and being inspired by your photographs, that I could manage to create a little environment that they would like. Your lead photograph is stunning.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s