Although these perennials are known for their use as ground cover and small spring flowers, the introduction of many Chinese species and hybrids has added taller, more diverse foliage and larger more showy flowers.
Often chosen for their tolerance of dry shade, in their native habitat they thrive in moist woodland conditions. Fully hardy in the UK, they prefer a position in partial shade with moisture retentive soil. Waterlogged ground or total drought will usually result in their demise. Most are adaptable to soil pH but slightly acid conditions are better for forms of E. grandiflorum and youngianum.
Water generously when planting to help the roots establish and continue watering through any periods of drought.
Although hardy, extreme winter weather may damage evergreen foliage and late frosts may kill emerging flower spikes but replacements will usually follow. Therefore a sheltered position is ideal in some parts of the UK.
An annual mulch of leaf mould or composted bark is beneficial.
Further inspiration may be found via Roger and Linda Hammond’s website www.epimedium-collection.com. My friends and collaborators in expanding my range of Epimediums who hold the UK National Collection.
Also, Sally Gregson’s book “The plant lover’s guide to Epimediums” published by Timber Press.