Winter aconite (Eranthis) shine yellow in the winter garden. The more of them there are in the beds, the better. What the little bulbous bloomers need to thrive and multiply perfectly, I’ll tell you here.
In February, walkers stand at the fence and shout compliments at me. Unfortunately, the undisguised enthusiasm is not for me, but for the little winter aconite squatting in the beds with their huge clan.
Even more enthusiastic than the winter-weary people are bees and other insects about the yellow blooming spring flowers. Pollen and nectar are highly coveted as early trachten in this otherwise flower-poor time. You can literally hear their delight: Pull up your chair to the Winter Aconite and enjoy the buzz.
Genus, species and varieties of Winter Aconite
Winter Aconites are bulbous flowers of the Ranunculaceae family. The genus includes seven species that are common in the forests of Europe and Asia. The best known in our gardens is Eranthis hyemalis, as it spreads very well in suitable conditions. There are also pretty fancier varieties of it, such as the pale yellow ‘Sulphur Glow’ or the darker ‘Orange Glow’. Also yellow in bloom is Eranthis cilicica. It captivates with enchantingly delicate foliage and attractive red stems. However, as far as propagation is concerned, Eranthis hyemalis is the most promising as a pure species.
A good location for Winter Aconites
Winter Aconites prefer alkaline to neutral soils. Acidic environments are less suitable. Sandy soil like mine is well tolerated by the winterling, like all dibble flowers it does not like soil that is too heavy with waterlogging.
The location should be full sun to partial shade, but even in full shade they still thrive with no problems for me. I find Winter Aconite especially pretty for planting on tree grates. Give them an exposed spot where you’ll pass by often to rejoice.
Plant tubers of Winter Aconite
The tubers are small, inconspicuous brown and wrinkled and are planted about 5 inches deep in the fall. Since the tubers dry out easily, I recommend buying them from a specialized company for freshness and planting them quickly. It is also advisable to soak the tubers in water overnight before planting.
A very good alternative is to buy pre-potted plants in the spring. This is a bit more expensive, but you can be sure that these plants will thrive.
Of course, it’s best if you get plants after they bloom from “winterling gardens” handed to you over the garden fence. Go around the neighborhood and keep an eye out for “new friends.” 😉
Reproduction of Winter Aconites
Reproducing Winter Aconites is actually quite easy, you just have to stick with it. My now quite large carpets of Winter Aconites of the species Eranthis hyemalis are the result of 20 years of birthing and a slightly alkaline soil.
Year after year I do two things: After maturation I take off seeds and sow them again directly in suitable places.
In addition, where things have become self-sustaining, I take seedlings and move them back to areas where winter aconites have not yet bloomed. There they then begin to establish themselves and continue to reproduce. And so it goes on and on.
A quick discussion about maintenance
Since the cotyledons are hard to spot as Winter Aconites in the beginning, you should avoid hoeing or messing with the soil too much if possible. Then you would literally bury them. Laziness is expressly rewarded in this case.
Part of thriving well is also that the foliage (as with all other bulb flowering plants) must be allowed to fade away in peace in order to gather strength for the new season. So if you enjoy huge mats of winter aconites in late winter, you’ll have yellowing foliage in the bed in April. I don’t mind this, however: Freshly sprouting perennials help cover it up quickly.
Fertilization: Since Eranthis doesn’t like it acidic, a light application of lime every two years and some horn shavings annually to start the season will suit. What else your soil needs specifically to allow plants to grow well can be determined by an individual soil test.
Do you have any questions or comments? Then, as always, feel free to use the comment option below!
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