Leontopodium Plant Growing & Care Guide for Gardeners

In this Gardener's HQ guide, we'll explore cultivating Leontopodium plants in your garden, indoor spaces, and other settings.

Edelweiss: Cultivation & Garden Use

An essential part of many gardens, Leontopodium is a hardy perennial that reaches about 30 cm (1 foot) in height.

It blooms from late spring through to summer, and carries white stellar shaped flowers.

Leontopodium alpinum
Leontopodium alpinum - Edelweiss by Franco Folini.

The foliage is lance shaped and woolly in nature. Common names for Leontopodium include Edelweiss.

Commonly Grown Leontopodium Species Photographs and Edelweiss Plant Identification

Leontopodium alpinum: Edelweiss (subspecies: Leontopodium nivale alpinum); better known as the Alpine Edelweiss)

Leontopodium nivale alpinum
Leontopodium nivale Subspecies Alpinum, photograph by xulescu_g; CC.

Leontopodium alpinum Photograph
Edelweiss Seedlings photograph by Laura Blanchard.

Leontopodium nivale: Edelweiss

Leontopodium nivale
Alpen-Edelweiß photograph by xulescu_g.

Leontopodium microphyllum: Taiwan Edelweiss / Small leaf Edelweiss

Leontopodium microphyllum
Leontopodium microphyllum photograph by 石川 Shihchuan; CC.

Leontopodium discolor: Ezo-usuyuki-sō

Leontopodium discolor
Leontopodium discolor photograph by L. Alexeeva / Public Domain

Leontopodium japonicum: Japanese Edelweiss

Leontopodium japonicum
Leontopodium japonicum photograph by yamatsu; CC.

How to Grow Edelweiss (Leontopodium Plants)

If growing outdoors from seed then sow the Edelweiss seeds on the surface.

This should be done in the spring before the last frost.

Edelweiss prefers to grow in a partly shaded part of the rock garden, in a gritty loose soil that is close to neutral acidity (pH 6.5 to 7.5).

If you plan to first grow Edelweiss indoors, then the process should start about two months before they are due to be transplanted into the garden (following the last frost of spring).

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

Seeds should then be sown out at a temperature of 12 Celsius (54°F). Edelweiss plants will normally take about two to six weeks to germinate.

Once established they should be spaced out at from 10 cm (4 inches) apart for small Leontopodium species, to 30 cm (12 inches) apart for larger Leontopodium varieties.

Edelweiss by nordique.

Caring for Edelweiss Care

Leontopodium Care: Edelweiss like to grow in the snow, and thus take a little looking after in areas that do not receive snow.

If this is the case, you should surround the Edelweiss plant with a mulch in the winter to simulate the snow experience. This mulch should be removed at the start of spring.

If you live in a snowy area, then leave Edelweiss be in the winter, but protect it from heavy rainfalls in both circumstances.

Further plants can be propagated by division. This should be done every couple of years due to the short life span of Edelweiss.

Leontopodium Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Edelweiss, Alpine snow flower, Lady's mantle, cat's paws, Wool flower.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
Height: 6 to 16 inches (15 to 40 cm).
Family: Asteraceae (Compositae).
Native: Europe. Asia. Southern America.
Growing Region: Zones 4 to 7. UK Hardiness: H6 to -20°C (-4°F)
Flowers: Late spring and/through to early autumn.
Flower Details: White. Star-shaped. Hairy.
Foliage: Lanceolate. Hairy/wooly. Small. Silver.
Sow Outside: Surface. Start of spring - before the last frost. Spacing 3 to 12 inches (8 to 30 cm).
Sow Inside: Germination time: one week to two months. Temperature: 50°F (10°C). Mix seeds in a moist growing medium, place in a freezer bag, then stratify by refrigeration for three weeks. Ten weeks before expected last frost. Transplant outdoors following the last frost.
Requirements and care: Partial shade. Good drainage. Soil pH 6.5 to 7.5. Gritty soil. Protect from rain in the winter. Divide every two years to maintain vigour in this short lived but hardy perennial. Propagate: by dividing by in the spring.
Miscellaneous: Mountainous plants that thrive when protected by a blanket of snow in the winter.
Edelweiss flower meaning: the common name for this plant 'Edelweiss', comes from the German words for Nobel (edel) and White (weiß). It is the national symbol of Austria and is featured in the movie 'A Sound of Music', where is is seen as a flower that is fitting for the mountains of Austria and a longing for home.
Closely Related Species: Michaelmas Daisy; Cupid's dart; Tickseed; Silver carpet; and Common Zinnia.

Common Questions

How many members does the Leontopodium plant genus have?

The Leontopodium genus consists of around 30 species.

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

Yes, Leontopodium species make great garden plants. With their distinctive star-shaped flowers, they add an unique element to alpine gardens or rockeries.

Which Leontopodium species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

Leontopodium alpinum (Edelweiss) is the most popular species. It's beloved for its distinctive star-shaped flowers and cultural significance.

Are members of the Leontopodium plant genus fragrant?

Leontopodium flowers are not particularly known for their fragrance, but are admired for their unique and striking appearance.

What is the perfect location to grow Leontopodium?

Leontopodium plants prefer full sun and well-drained, gritty soil. They are ideally suited to alpine gardens or rockeries.

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

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

How do I remove Leontopodium plants from my garden?

To remove Leontopodium, dig up the entire plant, ensuring all roots are removed to prevent regrowth.


The Leontopodium genus is a member of the Asteraceae family. They are perennial plants native to Asia and Europe. Easily recognized by their unique, star-shaped flowers. They make ideal plants for use in rock gardens and borders. They are commonly known as Edelweiss.

Leontopodium plants enjoy full sun, and a well-drained, sandy soil. Edelweiss is drought-tolerant once established. Propagation is typically done through seeds or division. Do this in the spring or fall.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Leontopodium plants. You may also enjoy my gardening guides on how to grow Alpine Snowbell, Starflower, Rosa rugosa, and Douglasia plants.