Epimedium × rubrum

hybrid epimedium

Outstanding Qualities

A tough and durable groundcover, Epimedium x rubrum has proven to be a great garden plant. In late March small, star-shaped, rose-red flowers dance on the ends of thin, wiry stems about one foot high. As the flowers finish there is an explosion of striking, red-flushed foliage. This red is most intense on plants grown in full sun. Barrenwort's leaves mature to shiny, bright green and remain attractive throughout the growing season. Once established, it requires minimal amounts of water during the summer, making it ideal for a woodland garden or perennial shade border. Combine this handsome perennial with Solomon's seal, maidenhair fern, flowering currant and Pieris japonica.

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.

© Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Quick Facts

Plant Type: perennial

Foliage Type: semi-evergreen

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

Plant Width/Spread: 3 ft. 0 in. (0.91 m.)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 4 to 8

Flower Color: red

Sun/Light Exposure: light to dappled shade

Water Requirements: occasional water during the driest periods of summer