Cardamine - Growing Guide

Cardamine - Growing Guide

Cuckoo flower, Lady’s smock

At Caerhays two species of Cardamine have developed very happily over decades as smallish clumps in shade and partial shade along the main drive. These are Cardamine pentaphyllos and Cardamine pratensis. It is the latter which Burncoose now offers although we show pictures of both species.

C. pratensis is a rare woodland native which is a rhizomatous perennial growing only to 12-18in in height and only appearing above ground level in late spring. Its leaves are composed of easily recognisable lance shaped leaflets. By early summer this plant develops racemes of white or pale purple flowers which stand above the leaves.

Although we have successfully grown C. pratensis in a woodland context it is equally happy in rock gardens or herbaceous borders providing it is in shade and providing it has a rich humus based and moist soil in which to grow. This plant is fully hardy but a winter mulch will help reduce any weed competition and provide subsequent feed for the plant.

C. pratensis is most easily propagated by division of clumps either when dormant in early spring or after flowering is well over.


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