How to Grow Jeffersonia Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Twinleaf and Rheumatism Root

Jeffersonia Plant genus members are hardy perennials that are native to woodlands.

They bear twin lobed leaves and cup shaped flowers of white or purple that come into bloom in the spring.

Some of the common names for Jeffersonia include Rheumatism root, Twinleaf, and Manchuria.

Jeffersonia diphylla

Photographs: Jeffersonia diphylla by Jason Sturner 72, CC; and Twinleaf by Bville.

Jeffersonia Plant Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Twinleaf, Manchuria, Rheumatism root.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
Height: 4 to 12 inches (10 to 30 cm).
Native: Northern America. Asia.
Growing Region: Zones 5 to 8.

Flowers: Spring. Short-lived.
Flower Details: White, purple. Cup-shaped. Eight petals.
Foliage: Herbaceous. Twin-lobed.

Sow Outside: Cover seed. Late summer or the start of autumn from fresh seed. Seeds should first be sown into flats. Next sink the flat into the ground in an area that offers shade, preferably close to a wall that faces north. Provide a glass/plastic covering. Keep an eye on the flats to ensure that the soil remains moist and to check if seedlings have emerged. After two years of growth, transplant the seedlings to their final location in the autumn. Spacing 6 to 10 inches (15 to 25 cm).
Sow Inside: No

Requirements and care: Full or partial shade. Peaty soil, rich soil, moist soil. No lime. Compost mulch. Regular watering during dry periods. Propagate: by dividing in the spring in cooler areas or the autumn in warmer areas.
Miscellaneous: Used by native Americans in many of their medicines including inflammation and urinary issues. Used in traditional Chinese medicine in the treatment of fevers.

How to Grow Twinleaf & Rheumatism Root

It is best to grow Twinleaf, Rheumatism root and other Jeffersonia members outdoors.

They should be sown using fresh seed at the beginning of autumn into flats containing rich, peaty soils.

Once sown lightly cover the Jeffersonia seed with soil, then place the flat in a shady part of the garden, and keep covered in glass.

It can take two years to germinate the seeds so be patient. During this long germination period, be sure to keep the soil moist.

Once seedlings of Rheumatism root emerge, they should be planted about 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 inches) apart into a shaded part of the garden.

It is important that the soil is not limy, but a rich and peaty wood soil.

Caring for Rheumatism Root, Twinleaf, and other Jeffersonia plants in the Garden

It is best to mulch the plant in order to keep roots cool. Jeffersonia will not grow successfully in hot areas.

If you require more plants then they can be divided in the spring or autumn once established.

Common Questions

How many members does the Jeffersonia plant genus have?

The Jeffersonia genus is very small, containing just two species. These plants are also known as Twinleaf, due to their unique leaf shape.

Do members of Jeffersonia make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Jeffersonia makes a lovely garden plant, particularly for a woodland or shade garden. They have delicate white flowers and unique foliage.

Which Jeffersonia species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

The species Jeffersonia diphylla is commonly grown in gardens for its interesting leaf shape, its and lovely white flowers.

Are members of the Jeffersonia plant genus fragrant?

Plants in the Jeffersonia genus are not particularly known for their fragrance.

What is the perfect location to grow Jeffersonia?

Jeffersonia prefers a shaded location with rich, well-drained soil. It is an excellent plant for a woodland or shade garden.

Is Jeffersonia invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Currently, Jeffersonia species are not considered invasive in the USA.

How do I remove Jeffersonia plants from my garden?

Jeffersonia can be removed by carefully digging up the entire plant, making sure to remove all of the roots to prevent regrowth.


The Jeffersonia genus, part of the Berberidaceae family, comprises perennial herbs native to East Asia and North America. Known for their delicate, cup-shaped flowers and distinctive, divided leaves, these plants are often used for shade gardens.

Jeffersonia plant prefers to grow in a location with partial to full shade, and a moist, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Regular watering is essential. Propagation is typically done through seeds or division, in the spring or fall.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Jeffersonia plants. You may also enjoy my gardening guides on how to grow Delphinium, Anoda plant, and Cyclamen plants.