GardenersHQ

How to Grow Hepatica Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Liverleaf and Liverwort

Hepatica are small hardy perennials that reach heights of between 5 and 20 cm (2 to 8 inches); this makes them ideal for use in rock gardens.

Common names for Hepatica plants include Liverwort, Kidneywort, and Liverleaf.

Hepatica nobilis
Hepatica nobilis Liverwort flower by Niko Herlin.

They carry tri-proportionated leaves and bloom with Anemone like flowers of white, blue, purple, or pink towards the end of winter and in spring.

These flowers are known to attract many important pollinating insects to the garden, such as bees and butterflies.

The stems of these small perennials tend to be hairy, while the leaves have a somewhat leathery apperance.

Identification of the Main Hepatica Species

Hepatica nobilis Syn. Anemone hepatica: Liverwort, Common hepatica, Kidneywort, Pennywort

Hepatica nobilis Liverwort
Hepatica nobilis, Liverwort photograph by Priit Tammets; CC.

Hepatica americana: Round-lobed hepatica

Hepatica americana, Round-lobed hepatica
Hepatica americana, Round-lobed hepatica photograph by Superior National Forest; CC.

Hepatica acutiloba: Sharp-lobed hepatica

Hepatica acutiloba, Sharp-lobed hepatica
Hepatica acutiloba, Sharp-lobed hepatica image by Jason Hollinger; CC.

Hepatica transsilvanica: Large blue hepatica

Hepatica transsilvanica, Large blue hepatica
Hepatica transsilvanica, Large blue hepatica photograph by Magnus Hagdorn; CC.

How to Grow Hepatica Plants in the Garden

If growing Liverwort plants outdoors from the off then fresh seeds should be sown at a depth of 6 mm (0.25 inches)as soon as seed is available (May to June).

The Hepatica flower should be grown in a shady part of the garden that has good drainage, and a moist humus rich soil.

If starting off Liverwort and other Hepatica species indoors as seedlings then the growing process should be started about four months before transplanting outdoors, in the autumn.

The seeds should first be imbibed by placing the seeds (within soil) in a black plastic bag, then placing in the fridge for three weeks.

Seeds should then be sown out into peat pots at a temperature of 10 to 12 Celsius (50 to 54°F). It can take anything from one month to one year to germinate.

Liverwort seedlings should be transplanted about 15 to 30 cm (6 to 12 inches) apart in the rock garden (or in a suitable shaded part of the garden).

Caring for Liverwort Plants

If you require more Liverwort plants then they can be had by dividing the plant in the spring, or by letting them set and drop seed.

Hepatica plants are fairly easy to maintain once growing: they should be regular watered in dry periods, be supplied a light feed, and mulched with leaves in the autumn.

Hepatica Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Liverleaf, Liverwort.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
Height: 2 to 10 inches (5 to 20 cm).
Native: Asia. Northern Europe. North America.
Growing Region: Zones 4 to 8.

Flowers: Late winter through to spring.
Flower Details: White, purple, blue, pink. Anemone-like. Single.
Foliage: Evergreen. Lobed. Leathery.
Sow Outside: 1/4 inch (6 mm). Late spring or early summer using fresh seed. Spacing 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm).
Sow Inside: Germination time: one month to one year. Temperature: 50 to 55°F (10 to 13°C). Mix seeds in a moist growing medium, place in a freezer bag, then stratify by refrigeration for three weeks. Then sow the seeds about three months in advance of transplanting them outdoors in the autumn.

Requirements and care: Full or partial shade. Good drainage. Humus, moist soil. Water during prolonged hot dry spells. Autumn leaf mulch. Propagate: Self seeds readily or by dividing in the spring in cooler areas or the autumn in warmer areas.
Miscellaneous: Attractive to butterflies and bees.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Hepatica plants. Other members of the Ranunculaceae family covered by Gardener's HQ include Windflowers, Buttercups, and Consolida Plants.


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