A popular, low spreading, herbaceous perennial with attractive light green, long lasting foliage, which is covered by frothy sprays of greenish flowers in summer. Fine hairs give the leaves a silvery sheen and water droplets cling to them after rain, providing a very attractive affect.
Family: Rosaceae (Rose)
Botanical Name: Alchemilla
Common Names: Lady's Mantle,
Foliage: Deciduous, light green, palmately lobed, basal leaves.
Flowers: Delicate sprays of tiny, greenish-yellow flowers.
Flowering Period: Summer (June-August) .
Soil: Moist but well-drained, good garden soil. Chalk, clay, sand or loam. Any pH. Avoid waterlogged conditions.
Conditions: Best in partial shade but will tollerate full sun.
Habit: Bushy, spreading, low growing.
Type: Herbaceous perennial.
Origin: Native to Carpathians and Asia Minor.
Hardiness: Fully hardy in the UK.
An easy to grow robust little plant that requires very little care and attention. Ideal for the front of the border, where it can be left to spill out over paths and edges. Also suitable for rock gardens or as ground cover in partial shade.
Plant from autumn to early spring, in a sunny or partially shaded location, in moist but well drained soil. Thrives in virtually any aspect, sheltered or exposed.
The foliage is very effective for flower arranging.
Alchemilla are prolific self seeders, so it is best to remove the flowers as soon as they fade. Seedlings can quite often appear naturally in the garden, drifting in from elsewhere.
Cut back faded flower stems and any untidy leaves to within a few inches from the ground in the autumn. Cut back hard if they become to invasive or straggly.
Generally pest and disease free.
Self seeds easily in the spring. Established plants can be divided in spring or autumn.
Several cultivars are available in the UK, including:
A. alpina (alpine lady's mantle), light green leaves, divided into narrow leaflets, with a silky underside. Clusters of tiny star-shaped green flowers appear in summer. Height 6-9in (15-23cm), spread 9in (23cm) or more. Ideal for the rock garden.
A. erythropoda (dwarf lady's mantle) has attractive smaller sprays of red flowers. Height to 6in (15cm), spread 10in (25cm).
A. conjuncta (silver lady's mantle) a more compact neat little plant, with greenish-yellow flowers. The leaves are deep-green, with a silver underside and edged with a fine silver line. Height and spread 1ft (30cm).
A. mollis (lady's mantle) is the most well known species. It has light green hairy leaves with serrated edges. Sprays of tiny lime-green, star-shaped flowers appear from June to August. Height to 1.5ft (45cm), spread 2ft (60cm).