An early yellow flower grown under deciduous trees.
Grow Winter Aconites
The tuberous Winter Aconite or Eranthis likes a loose, well-drained chalky soil but will naturalise in a lawn or under a deciduous tree.
In the wild these do exactly what bulbs are supposed to do – grow, flower and seed while light penetrates the bare branches of the trees above them.
The knobbly tubers need to be planted 2” deep. The tubers can be divided after flowering every few years and transplanted ‘in the green’ . They dry out very easily, generally dislike being moved and are best left to their own devices.
Winter aconite does well in containers as long as they get water and winter sunshine.
Winter aconites grow to 3-4 inches high and have upturned yellow cup shaped flowers around 1 inch across. The flowers sit stalkless on a ruff of bright green leaves and they can flower for up to six weeks.
They do particularly well in chalky soil. Good drainage is essential.
Some gardeners dislike aconites for the messy mass of foliage but allow the leaves die down and the plant will be dormant and hidden until next winter.
Eranthis hyemalis, comes from the deciduous woodlands of the Balkans, Italy and southern France. ‘Orange Glow’ and Schwefelglanz are hybrids to look out for.
Eranthis cilicus, from Turkey, Kurdistan, Iran and Afghanistanhas flowers that are larger and leaves that are finer
Eranthis x tubergenii Guinea Gold is less particular about its soil and is more vigorous and has delightful fragrant golden yellow blooms with bronzy green foliage, however it is only half-hardy.
Eranthis ‘Flore Pleno’ is a double that is good in the rockery or shady border but will not set seed.
Eranthis pinnatifida is a native of Japan where it is found in mountain woods. It has small white flowers a delight to grow.