Epimedium ‘Black Sea’
This iron-clad perennial is handsome and easy to grow. From late winter to early spring Epimedium 'Black Sea' produces a profusion of small, delicate-looking flowers dancing on the tips of thread-thin red stalks. The inner petals are primrose yellow and shaped onto nectar-producing sacs, the outer, paler sepals are washed with orange-red. New leaves soon follow the dainty blooms and mature to attractive blue-green. The most remarkable feature of the foliage is the inky purple-black coloring that 'bleeds' into each leaf with the onset of cooler temperatures and frost. This deep coloring lasts until the new leaves emerge next spring. Plant it with pale-colored hellebores to accentuate the unusual winter foliage. This cultivar was once called Epimedium pinnatum subsp. colchicum 'Black Sea' but recent evidence indicates that it is a hybrid.
Colors & Combos
Great Color Contrasts: black, silver, gold
Great Color Partners: dark green, variegated, chartreuse
Culture NotesThis tough groundcover tolerates a wide range of soil conditions from sand to clay and moist to well-drained. It thrives and produces its best flowers in light to dappled shade. 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 late January or early February to allow the new flowers to take center stage.
© Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks
Plant Type: perennial
Foliage Type: evergreen
Plant Height: 1 ft. 4 in. (0.40 m.)
Plant Width/Spread: 6 ft. 0 in. (1.83 m.)
Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 to 9
Flower Color: pink
Sun/Light Exposure: light to dappled shade
Water Requirements: occasional watering during the driest periods of summer