CINQUEFOIL

FAMILY: Rosaceae | GENUS: POTENTILLA

TYPE
  • Deciduous
  • Evergreen
  • Shrubs
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Partial Shade
WATER
  • Moderate Water

Plant Details

Hardy plants useful for ground covers and borders, with bright green or gray-green leaves divided into small leaflets. Small, roselike, typically single flowers come in white; cream; and soft to bright shades of pink, red, yellow, and orange. Cinquefoils typically prefer cool nights and cool soils. Deer don't usually bother them.

Evergreen Perennials

These include creeping plants used as ground covers as well as sturdy, clumping types for rock gardens or perennial borders. Leaves are divided fanwise into leaflets and are reminiscent of strawberry foliage; flowers are generally about 1 inches wide.

ruby cinquefoil

potentilla atrosanguinea

  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Sprawling, mounding Himalayan native to 1 feet high, 2 feet wide, with furry, three-leafleted, 2- to 3 inches-long leaves and red blossoms in summer.
  • A parent of superior hybrids such as 1- to 2 feet 'Flamenco', bearing blood red flowers with a dark center; 1 feet 'Gibson's Scarlet', bright red with dark center; and 'William Rollison', semidouble bright orange with yellow center.

nepal cinquefoil

potentilla nepalensis

  • Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9.
  • From the Himalayas.
  • To 12 feet high, 2 feet wide.
  • Leaves are 34 inches long, divided into five roundish leaflets; branching clusters of purplish red blossoms in summer.
  • Selections are superior to the species for borders, cut flowers.
  • Melton Fire, 1215 inches high, bears bright red blooms marked with yellow and blending to a deep red center.
  • Miss Willmott, 1012 inches high, has salmon-pink flowers.
  • Ron McBeath bears carmine blooms with distinctly heart-shaped petals.

dwarf spring cinquefoil

potentilla neumanniana 'Nana

  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Dainty-looking yet tough and persistent creeping ground cover.
  • Grows quickly to 36 inches high and about 1 feet wide.
  • Bright green leaves divided into five leaflets; butter yellow, inches flowers in spring and summer.
  • Takes more water than other cinquefoils but also tolerates heat and drought.
  • May turn brown in cold winters.
  • Foliage blankets the ground completely yet is permeable enough to be a good bulb cover.
  • Good lawn substitute for no-traffic areas; mow annually before spring growth begins.
  • Subject to a disfiguring rust in some areas.

warren's sulfur cinquefoil

potentilla recta 'Warrenii

  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Selection of a European species.
  • Grows 2 feet tall, 1 feet wide, with 4 inches leaves divided into five to seven leaflets.
  • Profuse show of bright yellow flowers in late spring.
  • Tolerates a wide range of soils.

staghorn cinquefoil

potentilla x tonguei

  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Hybrid between Potentilla nepalensis and another species.
  • Creeping plant to just 4 inches tall, with foot-long stems and 2 inches leaves divided into three to five leaflets.
  • Blooms in late spring or summer, bearing inches-wide apricot flowers with a red center.

Deciduous Shrubs

The shrubby potentillas, most often sold as named forms of bush cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa), are native to northern latitudes everywhere. They perform well in Zones US, MS; USDA 6-7. All have leaves divided into three to seven leaflets; some are distinctly green on top, gray beneath, while others look more gray-green all over. All bloom cheerfully from late spring to early fall.

Fairly trouble free. Best in well-drained soil with moderate water, but tolerate poor soils, limestone, drought, heat. Selections with red or orange tinting should be grown in light shade, since they tend to fade quickly in hot sun. After bloom period ends, cut out older stems from time to time to make room for new growth. Here are some of the selections found in garden centers.

Abbotswood

  • To 3 feet high and wide, with dark blue-green leaves, 2 inches white flowers.

Elizabeth

  • Grows 3 feet high, 3 feet wide, with bright yellow blooms.

Goldfinger

  • Dense-foliaged, dark green plant to 3 feet tall, 4 feet wide, with golden yellow, 1 inches blooms.

Gold Star

  • To 2 feet tall, 2 feet wide, with large, deep green leaves and 2 inches bright yellow flowers.

Jackman's Variety'. To 4 feet tall and 5 feet wide, with 1 inches., bright yellow blossoms.

Katherine Dykes

  • Can reach 5 feet but usually stays much lower; spreads at least as wide as high.
  • Pale yellow, 1 inches flowers.

Klondike

  • Dense grower to 2 feet high and wide; 1- to 2 inches yellow blossoms.

Mount Everest

  • Bushy, upright grower to 4 feet high and wide; 1 inches pure white blooms.

Pink Beauty

  • To 3 feet high and wide, with profuse clear pink blooms.

Primrose Beauty

  • Silvery gray-green foliage on a plant 23 feet high and wide.
  • Pale yellow, 1 inches flowers.

Princess

  • To 2 feet high, 34 feet wide.
  • Soft pink flowers.

Red Ace

  • To 2 feet high, 34 feet wide.
  • Flowers are 1 inches wide, bright red with yellow center and yellow petal backs.
  • Blooms fade to yellow as they age (fading is rapid in hot summer weather or poor growing conditions).

Sunset

  • To 22 feet tall, 3 feet wide, with bright green foliage, 1 inches yellow flowers shaded orange.

Sutter's Gold'. To 1 feet high, spreading to 3 feet Clear yellow flowers about 1 inches across.

Tangerine

  • To 2 feet high and wide, with bright yellow-orange, 1 inches blooms.

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