Potentilla–commonly called Cinquefoil–is a compact, deciduous shrub that bears 5-petaled, saucer-shaped white, yellow, orange, pink, or red flowers.
Potentilla blooms from spring to autumn. The shrubby Potentillas developed from P. fruticosa are excellent long-flowering plants for the garden. Use Potentilla in informal hedges and shrub borders.
Potentilla is a genus of about 500 species of shrubs and herbaceous perennials found throughout the Northern Hemisphere in habitats ranging from meadows to mountain screes.
Get to Know Potentilla
- Plant type: Deciduous flowering shrub
- Growing Zones and range: 2-7
- Hardiness: Hardy to -50°F (-45°C)
- Height and width: 1 to 4 feet (1-1.2m) tall and 2 to 4 feet (.6-1.2m) wide
- Foliage: Bright green leaves, yellow-brown in fall; leaves can be pinnate or 3- to 7-palmate; leaves are strongly veined and wrinkled
- Flowers: Usually 5-petaled , suacer-shaped flowers
- Flower colors: White to yellow, pink, and orange
- Bloom time: Summer to fall
- Uses: Low hedges, shrub borders, foundation use, mass planting
- Common name: Potentilla, shrubby cinquefoil
- Botanical name: Potentilla
- Family: Rosaceae
- Origin: Meadows to mountain screes throughout the Northern Hemisphere
Where to Plant Potentilla
- Plant Potentilla in full sun for best flowering; will grow in partial shade.
- Grow Potentilla in all types of soil from poor to humus-rich.
Potentilla Uses and Companions
- Potentilla is a long-flowering plant.
- Tall varieties such as P. fruticosa that can be used for a mixed or shrub border or for a low hedge.
- Short varieties such as P. tabernaemontani or P. atro-sanguinea can be used as a ground cover or in a rock garden.
- Good garden companions for Potentilla include Belamcanda chinensis, Coreopsis, Dictamus albus, Hemerocallis, Salvia, Sisyrinchium striatum.
When to Plant Potentilla
- Set Potentilla in the garden in spring or fall.
Planting and Spacing Potentilla
- Space Potentilla 2 to 4 feet apart.
How to Water and Feed Potentilla
- Potentilla needs moderate water; keep the soil evenly moist.
- Remove one-third of Potentilla stems in late winter or early spring for best flowering and a thicker habit. Cut old stems back to the ground.
Potentilla Pests and Diseases
- Potentilla is susceptible to downy mildew, powdery mildew, leaf blister, and rust can attack cinquefoil.
- Take Potentilla cuttings in summer.
- Sow Potentilla seed in fall.
- Potentilla seeds take 14 to 28 days to germinate at about 70°F (21°C).
Potentilla Varieties to Grow
- Potentilla atrosanguinea, Himalaya cinquefoil. Clump-forming perennial; panicle like cymes of suacr-shaped yellow, orange, or pale to deep red flowers grows to 36 inches tall.
- P. fruitcosa, shrubby cinquefoil. Compact, bushy, deciduous shur with saucer-shaped flowers grows to 30 inche tall and wide, Cultivars include: Abbotswood’ has white flowers, bluish-green leaves and grow 30 inches tall and 4 feet wide; ‘Goldfinger’ has bright yellow flowers and dark green leaves; ‘Yellow Gem’ grows 2 to 3 feet wide; ‘Jackman’s Variety’ has bright yellow flowers; ‘Mount Everest’ has large white flowers; ‘Primrose Beauty’ primrose flowers, grows to 3 feet tall; ‘Tangerine’ has yellow-flushed red flowers and grows to 2 feet tall.
- P. nepalensis. Clump-forming perennial grows to 36 inche tall; mid-green leaves; loose cymes of saucer-shaped dark crimson flowers.
- P. recta. Perennial to 24 inches tall; gray-green to mid-green leaves; flat cymes of saucer-shaped yellow flowers.