Common Names: Barrenwort, Bishop's hat, Horny goat weed, Fairy wings, Randy beef grass, or Yin yang huo.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
Height: 6 to 18 inches (15—45 cm).
Native: : East Asia.
Growing Region: Zones 4 to 9.
Flowers: Late spring and early summer.
Flower Details: White, red, pink, yellow. Raceme or panicle. Single or tufted slender stems.
Foliage: Herbaceous or Evergreen. Compound leaves, usually three leaflets. Cordate.
Grow Outside: Usually grown from purchased plants as plants are extremely slow growers, or from propagations. Plant outdoors following the last frost or early in the autumn. If growing from divisions best results are obtained in late summer. Space at about 6 to 12 inches (15—30 cm).
Requirements and care: Full or partial shade (in rich soils). Good drainage.
Slightly acidic to neutral soil pH 5.5 to 7. Moist, rich soil enhanced with organic matter. Regular watering during dry periods. Winter mulch with straw. Tidy messy growth. Propagate: by dividing in the spring in cooler areas or the autumn in warmer areas; it is thought that division in late summer leads to best results.
Closely Related Species:
Miscellaneous: Named after the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus. Extracts from this plant have many medical uses including the treatment of osteoporosis, and as an aphrodisiac – hence some of its common names e.g., Horny goat weed.
How to grow Epimedium
Members of the Epimedium genus such as Barrenwort should be grown from divided plants or purchased from garden centres. They should be grown in an area of the garden that is shady and has good drainage.
They prefer to grow in a soil that is organic, moist and slightly acidic to neutral (pH 5.5 to 7) in nature. They should be spaced at about 20 to 30 cm apart, and are very slow growing, so may take many years until their beauty shows through.
Caring for Epimedium in the Garden
Epimedium plants requires watering during prolonged dry spells, and should be cut back in the early spring, so that only nice strong growths remain.
If you require more plants then they can be divided in the spring or summer.