Epimedium is the plant with the delicate flowers and the timid leaf shoot for sensitive, delicate and demanding. The delicate plants develop robust, leathery leaves after their spring pile. And the roughnecks among them conquer the terrain with their root system, sometimes briskly or even ruthlessly. The flowers of many grounds covering species are discreet. You have to take a closer look to discover its quiet beauty. The growth is often characterized by a larger, more attractive floral decoration. Common to all Epimedium is the elf-like flower form, which consists of four inner and four outer petals. Sometimes the petals are formed into spurs, which gives the fine florets even more grace.
It is true that the approximately 30 centimeters tall plants are among the perennials, the stem base and the roots are often lignified. This is why many species are more semi-hardy. In addition, they belong to the plant family of barberry family (Berberidaceae), which mainly consists of woody plants.
The East Asian Elven flowers are usually deciduous and grow in soil-wet forests on humus-rich soils. Originating from Europe and the Near East, they mainly produce evergreen or evergreen foliage, which is overgrown in spring by the new leaves, which are often strikingly bronze-patterned in budding. Their natural habitats are also forests, but often on moderately dry soils. They also cope with mineral, rather humus-poor soil. In the course of their horticultural use, some hybrid varieties have also emerged from East Asian and Western species.
The leaves are elongated pointed to heart-shaped in almost all species and varieties and are sometimes quite rough in the winter-green elven flowers. The small flowers are usually small and sit on filigree stems. They carry four outer petals, which are often spur-like and extend beyond the four inner always clearly. Elf flowers bloom in spring before or with the leaves, depending on the variety, the flowers are white, yellow, orange, red, pink or purple, some also two-colored. All species grow hosting to carpet-like and spread by rhizomes more or less strong.
Origin and Growth Behavior
The Elven Empire stretches from the Southern Alps to Algeria, Japan, and China. The European and Near-Asian forest creatures are – in contrast to their East Asian relatives – more robust, unassuming and often also more vigorous. You want more loamy-humus soil, which may also be slightly calcareous.
They dance through the clear to deep shadows, flanking groves where their foothills can withstand rhizomes competing with other plants. Some tough species can tolerate a lot of dryness and root pressure. Ideal for conjuring up color and structure in difficult garden corners, for example at the feet of ingrown trees. This succeeds with propagation-friendly species such as the Black Sea Elven flower and the proven variety ‘Frohnleiten’.
At not too dry locations even moderately growing elven flowers weave their dense, rich green foliage carpets. For example, the orange-flowered Epimedium x warleyense ‘Orange Queen’ or the red-white ‘Galadriel’ (E. x rubrum). Your big plus: The tough, brick-like superimposed, sometimes even winter-green foliage barely leaves weeds!
For growth-loving forest elves, however, their planting partners should also be of robust, vigorous nature in order to be able to survive alongside them. B. Exuberantly leafy (Hosta), the Knotweed (Bistorta amplexicaulis) with upright spikes of flowers or white-flowering forest-goat beard (Aruncus sylvester).
Horny Goat Weed or Epimedium or Elven Flower has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese herbalism as an aphrodisiac in support of healthy sexual activity. This product combines a standardized epimedium extract containing 10% icariin along with parts of the whole leaf, delivering the full spectrum of Epimedium benefits. The first use comes from the ancient text, Shen Not Ben Cao Jing (about 200 BC-100 AD). It has been used as a tonic for improving libido in men and women. It has been reported that Epimedium is the “tonic of the life-stage” – a term that describes the vital energy of the male reproductive organs and was for the steadfastness, as well as for the strengthening of the tendons and bones. A male enhancement supplement, very popular these days, which contains Epimedium leaf extract in good amount is VigRX Plus.
This epimedium combines a standardized extract of Epimedium sagittatum with the whole leaf of Epimedium. The extract is standardized and contains 10% flavonoids in the form of icariin. The combination of standardized Epimedium extract with the whole leaf preserves the integrity of the plant and at the same time is a concentrated source of valuable components.
East Asian, deciduous species such as the large-flowered elm flower (Epimedium grandiflorum) are suitable for fresh to moderately moist, humus-rich perennial flowerbeds in a partially shaded position under larger trees that do not exert too much root pressure. They are usually not set flat but combined in small or larger groups with compatible bedding partners such as hosting growing ferns, shade grasses, forest anemones (Anemone sylvestris), purple bells (Heuchera) or clove root (Geum). Onion flowers such as the milkcap (Leucojum vernum) and the dog’s tooth (erythronium) are first-rate bed partners.
Wintergreen species and hybrids from Europe and Asia Minor are mostly classified as groundcover used in half-shady and shady areas of easy-care gardens, as they suppress the weeds well and are quite tough. If they are well rooted, they can tolerate longer periods of drought. In particular, Epimedium x perralchicum ‘Frohnleiten’ is considered one of the best groundcovers for weed displacement – it is also popular in parks and in public green. One should combine these Elfenblumen only with perennials and woody plants, which are also competitive, for example, with Rodgersien (Rodgersia) or forest goat beard (Aruncus).
If you want to plant elven flowers as the groundcover, you need about eight to nine plants per square meter of the bedding area. It takes around three to four years for the plant carpet to close, as elven flowers only grow properly in the second year after planting. Very wind-exposed, east-facing layers should be avoided.