Darmera peltata

umbrella plant

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

Darmera peltata is a perennial which grows 3-5 feet tall and is native to mountain stream banks and woodlands from southwestern Oregon to northern California. It has small, pink-to-white flowers in rounded clusters which appear atop thick hairy stems in early spring before the foliage emerges. Large, rounded, medium-green leaves that can reach 24 inches in size appear after the plant has bloomed. Leaves are peltate (as the species name suggests)... meaning that each leaf arises from the rhizome on a long petiole which attaches to the center of the leaf, thus creating a large leaf cup. Upward facing leaves typically collect and hold small pools of rain water. The common name is in reference to either the umbrella-like flower clusters or the inside-out-umbrella-like appearance of the leaves or both. The umbrella plant is a big plant that needs a substantial space. Its bold foliage definitely attracts attention and looks great when combined with ferns, hostas, grasses and Solomon's seal. Darmera peltata attracts bees and butterflies, is good as a cut flower and has pleasant fall color.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: perennial

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 5 ft. 0 in. (1.52 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 5 ft. 0 in. (1.52 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 to 9

Flower Color: pink

Sun/Light Exposure: light, open, or dappled shade

Water Requirements: frequent or plant in constantly moist or wet soil

Seasonal Interest: autumn color

Wildlife Associations: bees, butterflies

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: silver, gold, burgundy

Great Color Partners: dark green, blue, chartreuse

Culture Notes
Umbrella plant grows best in moist or wet soil in light to dappled shade. With adequate moisture it will tolerate clay. In brighter conditions make sure that the plant receives sufficient water or the margins of the leaves will scorch. In a location with plenty of space it will eventually become a large perennial plant.