Summer deciduous plants - Beautiful spring gems
by Rosy Hardy.
These are plants that have a natural summer dormancy, not an induced one due to environmental factors. They are still true herbaceous perennials - they just have a different time frame. This means that if you want to buy them in the summer months from us you will get a pot that looks empty. There is no visible top growth and the root systems are very small; a lot of these plants have rhizomes which look a lot like dried up old twigs.
Beautiful spring gems such as Anemone nemorosa, Anemonella thalictroides, Ficaria varieties, Geranium malviflorum , Geranium maculatum and Iphieon 'Rolf Fiedler' are just a few examples of varieties which are summer deciduous. The flowers appear in early spring followed by a surge in leaf growth and then they go dormant through the rest of the year, vacating their space above ground for another plant to fill. These plants are so useful for giving a great spring performance, dying off gracefully, becoming dormant and allowing later flowering plant material to take their place on the garden stage, only to reappear the following spring to do it all over again.
We are often asked about the best time to plant or move these plants. If you already have some plants growing, then we recommend splitting and moving them in spring after they have finished flowering and before they start to die back to go dormant again.
When planting new varieties which have been grown in a container, it is usually best done whilst they are still growing - often known by the term “in the green”.
These plants will make wonderful clumps and can be very reliable, as long as the gardener remembers where they have planted them. The biggest reason for most gardeners not succeeding with these plants is that they dig them up thinking they are just old twigs. To avoid this scenario, please put a label in where you plant them, not above ground but under the clump. So when you dig up a clump and a label comes too you know to pop it back, as it is a precious gem.
1. Anemonella thalictroides 2. Anemone nemorosa 'Alba Plena' 3. Iphieon 'Rolf Fiedler' 4. Geranium malviflorum