Potentilla

Potentilla shrubs are a perfect low-maintenance shrub that you can happily leave to its own devices in a rockery or border. It provides ground cover, forming a low shrub that creates a display of small, pretty, yellow flowers over a long period in the summer and into autumn.

Growing potentilla:

Potentilla grows well and unassumingly in a range of soils and locations. It will grow best in a low to medium fertility soil and is not very fussy at all. It will however, flower better if it is in a moist soil and will not like a waterlogged one.

You can grow potentilla in partial shade or full sun, though in full sun the flowers will fade more swiftly and if the shrub does not get at least four hours of sun per day, flower production will tend to drop off somewhat.

Potentillas can be grown in containers but they tend to do much better when planted directly into the ground. It is best to prune yearly to keep in bounds and to encourage the plants to keep flowering. If they are left unpruned for many years, potentilla shrubs can fail to flower. Fortunately, by pruning them back dramatically to a third of their size you can usually rejuvenate them. September is a good time to prune them if you want them to flower well the following year.

Potentillas tend to prefer conditions that are on the drier side and so you should not be tempted to water the shrubs unless you have drought conditions. Likewise, potentillas prefer a less fertile soil and so no fertiliser is needed.

Potentillas are long lasting shrubs and yet they do not reach an enormous size. They do not usually exceed 75cm in height and are rarely over a metre in height or width. As they are low and sturdy they can cope with a range of conditions, even in rather exposed spots.

It is easy to propagate potentillas through softwood cuttings, which should be taken early in the summer. There is a range of varieties of potentilla on the market with a variety of flower colours and shapes. They are readily available from many garden centres and plant nurseries.

Potentillas usually flower from May until the very end of August, though the peak flowering time in is May and June. The shrubs will usually loose their leaves in November, as they are deciduous, and will regain them in April or early May.

Why grow potentilla in the garden?

The pretty yet subtle beauty of the potentilla is a delight in the garden. Their compact, bushy habit means that they will fit well into many planting schemes and the long lasting displays of flowers will also be good for beneficial insect life in your garden.

Quick Facts

Latin Name
Potentilla fruticosa