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How to grow Alchemilla (al-kern-il-a)

From alkemelych, an Arabic word, indicating the plant's use in alchemy (Rosaceae). Lady's mantle. Hardy herbaceous low-growing plants suitable for use on rock gardens or at the fronts of borders. The flowers are in clusters, in shades of green or yellow, in July.

Species cultivated A. alpina, 6 inches, handsome foliage, grey green above, silvery below, flowers pale greenish-yellow. When grown on the rock garden, it is best planted in crevices between rocks. A. mollis, 12 inches. attractive, with kidney-shaped, wavy-edged, softly hairy leaves and greenish-yellow flowers, good for cutting. Contrasts well when grown in association with Campanula poscharskyana. Inclined to be invasive when established, but well worth growing, especially as ground cover in shady or semi-shady places, such as under trees.

Cultivation Drainage must not be impaired for alchemillas to thrive well; otherwise any ordinary garden soil suits them. They are best transplanted in autumn or spring. As they are spreading plants, division is a simple means of propagation and they set seed freely. This may be collected with the aid of polythene bags, placed over the faded flower heads, and sown in spring.

 



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