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Yellow Barrenwort

Epimedium x versicolor 'Sulphureum'

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Yellow Barrenwort (Epimedium x versicolor 'Sulphureum') at Ashcombe Farm & Greenhouses

Epimedium x versicolor 'Sulphureum' flowers

Epimedium x versicolor 'Sulphureum' flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  12 inches

Spacing:  14 inches

Sunlight:  partial shade  full shade 

Hardiness Zone:  4a

Other Names:  Barrenwort, Bishop's Hat, Fairy Wings

Ornamental Features

Yellow Barrenwort's attractive heart-shaped leaves emerge burgundy in spring, turning green in color with distinctive red edges. As an added bonus, the foliage turns a gorgeous dark red in the fall. It features delicate nodding lemon yellow star-shaped flowers rising above the foliage from mid to late spring. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Yellow Barrenwort is a dense herbaceous evergreen perennial with a ground-hugging habit of growth. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other garden plants with less refined foliage.

This plant will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and is best cleaned up in early spring before it resumes active growth for the season. It is a good choice for attracting bees to your yard, but is not particularly attractive to deer who tend to leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Spreading

Yellow Barrenwort is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • Border Edging
  • General Garden Use
  • Groundcover
  • Naturalizing And Woodland Gardens
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Yellow Barrenwort will grow to be about 10 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 16 inches. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 14 inches apart. Its foliage tends to remain low and dense right to the ground. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 10 years.

This plant does best in partial shade to shade. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist growing conditions, but will not tolerate any standing water. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for a low-water garden or xeriscape application. It is not particular as to soil pH, but grows best in rich soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. Consider covering it with a thick layer of mulch in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This particular variety is an interspecific hybrid. It can be propagated by division; however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.

Yellow Barrenwort is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. Because of its spreading habit of growth, it is ideally suited for use as a 'spiller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the edges where it can spill gracefully over the pot. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

 
 
Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Characteristics
Massing  Edging  Garden  Groundcover  Naturalizing  Container 
Applications
Flowers  Foliage Color  Fall Color  Texture  Attracts Wildlife 
Ornamental Features