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New Epimedium (Barrenwort) Varieties for the Shade

Add some seasonal interest to those dry shady spots in the landscape with one of colorful Epimedium varieties.

Epimediums, also known as Barrenwort, have heart shaped leaves that emerge in spring along with delicate white, yellow or red flowers.  The leaves persist all summer and turn red in the fall.

Alabaster Epimedium has pure white flowers that brighten the shady garden in spring. It grows 9 to 12 inches tall and three feet wide. Use it as a groundcover or combine it with other shade lovers like hostas, ferns, coral bells and Siberian bugloss in zones 4 to 8.

Dark Beauty, also hardy in zones 4 to 8, has been around for a while, but may be new to you. The leaves emerge dark purple almost black along with the purple and white flowers in spring. The leaves eventually fade to olive then green throughout the season.

A bit more information: There are hundreds of epimedium cultivars, making it hard to choose.  Richie Steffen curator of the Elisabeth C. Miller Botanical Gardens and Tony Avent of Plant Delights Nursery share some of their favorites.

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