March 27, 2017

Plant of the Month: Winter Aconite

eranthis
Eranthus hyemalis

Did I miss the Winter Aconites? Did they bloom under the snow?

Around this time last year, they were up and open and brightening my garden.

eranthis bee

The first pollinators of the season were swimming in their goodness.

eranthis oak leaves

Maybe there's still hope for this year? If not, I won't give up because I love them so. Do you grow Winter Aconites? If not, you should try them.

eranthis new

They take the cold and snow and late freezes in stride.

eranthis 3

Plus, they're so joyful, you can't help but smile when you see them.

eranthis 2

Winter Aconites (Eranthus hyemalis) are native to Europe, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden. and they're among the first flowers to bloom in the late winter and early spring. In addition, they:

  • Are hardy in zones 3 to 7;
  • Thrive in full sun to partial shade;
  • Resist deer and rabbit damage (but maybe not voles?); and
  • Prefer organically rich, well-draining soil.

I hope I'll still see them yet this year, but if not I will try again--maybe in pots to resist the voles.

eranthis & c. tommasinianus

Plus, they're so beautiful as companions to Tommies (Crocus tommasinianus).

eranthis & c. tommasinianus 2

Happy spring!

36 comments:

  1. I don't grow them, but I have seen them at the Chicago Botanic Garden and a few other gardens. They are wonderful, I need to plant some. I have heard it is important that they not be disturbed if you want them to spread. I hope yours will still bloom this year.

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    1. I remember seeing them around in past years, too. Last year was the first time I had them in my garden, but it was a joy. And to see the bees loving them was special. I have seen some bees in the crocuses this year, so that's good. I didn't mess with them last year, but it's possible the birds and critters did. Oh well, I'll try some in pots next year if they don't make an appearance this year.

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  2. They're so beautiful in your pictures but I haven't seen them in gardens in these parts, maybe because we don't do a lot of garden visiting this time of year. I'll definitely add some to my fall bulb order this year!

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    1. Thanks, Peter. I think you'll enjoy them! They're like little sparks of sunshine, just when you (and the early pollinators) need it at the end of winter!

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  3. I have had them before. They haven't ever lasted for me. They grow a few years and then disappear. Maybe as you say...voles.

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    1. Ah, good to know it happens to others. I think I see a few poking through...we'll see. If not, I'll try planting them in pots because they're so pretty.

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  4. Just beautiful! The overhaul of our front garden is continuing this year & I'm hoping to get some spring bulbs planted. Winter Aconites are not on the bulb list :)

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    1. One to add, for sure. I'm thinking I need to add lava rocks around them next time I plant them, and maybe in pots to protect them from critters.

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    2. I don't know where that "not" came from in my comment as they definitely ARE on the list :)

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  5. Pretty :-)
    No, I do not have them in my garden. Thank you for sharing, I will look into planting some.
    Carla

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    1. Yes, they're so cheery. And the bees like them. And I miss them. :( But I will plant more. :)

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  6. They are a breath of fresh air! I will have to look into them.

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    1. Agreed. And it's so fun to see the bees enjoying them. All these little harbingers of spring are so delightful.

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  7. You must have some happy, content pollinators with these beauties! Great shots, Beth.

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    1. Hi Tina: Thanks. Yes, the bees enjoyed them last year. Lately, I've seen the bees hanging out by the Tommie crocuses, so all is not lost if the Winter Aconites don't make an appearance. And I'll plant more next year.

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  8. A mass of these would be like walking on sunshine! Sadly, they won't survive in my climate, not because of cold but because of summer heat.

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    1. Yes, indeed. I had hoped that would be the case in my little garden plot. But I might have to be happy with them in pots. Sorry they aren't the best for your climate, but I know you have many amazing plants that we, here in the north, can't grow. It's a trade-off, I guess. :)

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  9. I lost mine so probably no, not voles. I shall try again. I'm told the trick is to get them established in pots and then put them out. We shall see.

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    1. I'm with you--worth trying again! It was weird--I put the bulbs in in the fall, and they bloomed nicely after the winter. But this year, I don't see any of them. It seems so odd that they all disappeared. I wonder if it's the acidity of the soil. Some people say they like alkaline soil, and mine is acidic. All the more reason to try them in pots.

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  10. Such a cheery color! I don't have any Aconite, but should look into planting a few this fall. Looking around my garden, I realize I have the same problem with scilla--every year I plant more, but it seems as though I always have the same amount.

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    1. All the other bulbs I planted seem to be coming back--daffodils, tommies, scillas, and glory-of-the-snows. But still no aconites. Very strange. Oh well, I'll try again in pots. They're so pretty. :)

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  11. Beautiful . . .
    Might be something I could plant in ourcwooded area . . .

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    1. Yes, I really like them. Some sources say they like alkaline soil, so maybe I'll try planting them near the house.

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  12. Beautiful! On my wish-I-could-but-sadly-can't list. Not enough winter and too much summer, or something like that.

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    1. Oh, so I guess there are benefits to having a full-blown winter. Good to know it's good for something. ;-) But it didn't seem to help this year.

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  13. I like them very much. They grow with us without problems. Flowers immediately after the snowdrops. I hope you blossom. Regards.

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    1. Lucky you! No sign of them yet. But I'll try again in a different spot. They are so cheery!

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  14. Sadly, they don't stick around for me. It might be a tad too warm. I hope spring is on it's way for you. We've enjoyed a lovely rain over the last two days and I have a feeling things will pop when we see the sun again.

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    1. Interesting. We had a mild winter, but I can't imagine it was mild enough to wipe out all the aconites. I'm thinking maybe it's the ph of the soil--it's pretty acidic, and apparently they like alkaline soil. Yes, spring is hitting here now, too. But this time of year we have a lot of stops and starts. Enjoy the mild weather ahead!

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  15. I've had no luck with them, but buttercups are similar and just try to get rid of THOSE!

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    1. Buttercups. I've heard they can be pretty invasive--especially in wet areas. They probably wouldn't do too well here because of our hot summers, but I don't think I'd want to try anyway.

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  16. They do look a bit like buttercups, that were part of my childhood memories but I haven't seen any for years and years. I love the photos of the Crocus - you almost feel you can touch the pollen. (Never identified so closely with a bee before!)

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    1. Hi Sue: Yes, they do look like Buttercups. The Aconites are much smaller than I remembered them (about the width of my pinky finger when in bud and a little wider than my thumb when in bloom). They are lovely companions with the Tommie crocuses. It's so fun to see the pollinators swimming around in them. :)

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  17. They have been and gone here. What a joy they are spreading into ever bigger carpets.

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    1. They didn't last long here. For some reason, the Tommie crocuses bloomed earliest and most prolifically this year. Then the Aconites, and there were only a few. And now the Scilla, Glory-of-the-Snow, and Daffodils. I think I'll get some more Aconites and plant them in pots and in another area of the garden. They're so cheerful!

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  18. Am not familiar with these, but they're pretty!

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