Epimedium × versicolor ‘Sulphureum’

hybrid epimedium

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

Epimedium 'Sulphureum' is a vigorous groundcover for many types of landscape situations including dry sites. In springtime constellations of small flowers emerge and are two-toned with pastel yellow sepals and butter yellow petals. The evergreen foliage is heart-shaped and the green leaves often appear with a touch of red, particularly if it is grown in more light. Common names for epimedium include barrenwort (for purported medicinal qualities), bishop's hat (for flower shape), or fairy wings.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: spreading perennial

Foliage Type: semi-evergreen

Plant Height: 1 ft. 4 in. (0.40 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 10 ft. 0 in. (3.05 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 to 9

Flower Color: yellow

Sun/Light Exposure: light to dappled shade

Water Requirements: occasional watering during the driest periods of summer

Seasonal Interest: spring flowers

Wildlife Associations: bees

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: black, silver, gold

Great Color Partners: dark green, variegated, chartreuse

Culture Notes
This tough groundcover tolerates a wide range of soil conditions from sand to clay and moist to well-drained. It thrives in light to dappled shade but will tolerate deep shade, although the flowering is greatly reduced. It will tolerate drought well, but if the soil conditions are poor it is best to provide some occasional water during the driest periods of summer. Cut the leaves to the ground in January or early February to allow the new flowers to take center stage.
Geek Notes
Epimedium × versicolor is the name for an early (mid-nineteen century) group of European hybrids using Epimedium pinnatum ssp. colchicum (from the western Caucasus Mountains near the Black Sea) and Epimedium grandiflorum (native to Japan) as the parents. 'Sulphureum' is one of several hybrids created during that time period.