Epimediums You can find all our available Epimediums on this page, or you can use the categories at the beginning to refine you choice to botanically similar species or hybrids of that species. Each Taxon category should contain all subcategories and hybrids of that taxon. Epimediums are a rare thing; they are both exquisitely beautiful and highly tolerant in regard to growing conditions. In British gardens they grow well in all but the wettest and most alkaline soils, with many being very tolerant of dry conditions where they can provide superb ground cover; the Epimedium x perralchicum varieties excel particularly as do forms of Epimedium x versicolor. The one constant is that they all require a degree of shade. Whilst many do cope well with dry shade, more moisture and humus in the soil is beneficial.
In order to best view the flowers, and in many cases to get the best from the beautifully marked new leaves it can be beneficial to cut away all of the old leaves in early Spring just as the flower spikes break the surface. In this way you get the best from the evergreen foliage and the best from the flowers.
The common name ‘barrenwort’ comes from a belief that the root could prevent women becoming pregnant. This may be of some comfort when you consider other common names, such as horny goat weed, which stems from the legend of a Chinese goat herder noticing increased sexual activity in his animals after eating Epimedium. The dried leaves of Epimedium grandiflorum are used as a tonic in China called Fang-chang tsao (translated as ‘give up stick’) on account of its tonic effect on the elderly.