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Lady's Mantle - Alchemilla

If you want to plant an Alchemilla also known as Lady's Mantle, you have made a good choice. With its pretty foliage, the popular summer shrub not only adorns beds but also looks very decorative as a ground cover and border plant. Even in rose beds, under bushes and at the edge of a pond, it looks its best and quickly ensures a green area.

The representatives of the genus Alchemilla are hesitant beauties that emphasise the effect of other plants and with their special charisma, they bring peace and harmony into every planting. In early summer, they produce tiny, yellow-green flowers that form into small clumps and stand on long stalks above the heart-shaped leaves. Especially in the early morning and after a downpour, small drops of dew appear on the velvety petals that sparkle like precious pearls, enchanting the beholder.

In addition, the flowering Lady's Mantle is a popular cutting plant in floristry. In colourful bouquets it offers a very beautiful effect and lasts a long time in a vase. Not only the ornamental value of the Alchemilla is much appreciated: it is also a well-known medicinal plant which was used in folk medicine, among other things, for typical gynaecological problems.

Buying

Whether in an open location or in a rock garden: discover the many uses of the Alchemilla species! These low-growing perennials can be perfectly combined with roses and other perennials in sunny areas or with ferns in partial shade. As a ground cover, they can be wonderfully combined with phlox, cranesbill and periwinkle.

• The common Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla xanthochlora) is a native wild plant found in wet meadows. It convinces with its beautiful, hemispherical growth, which also makes it stand out in the middle of a perennial bed. At the edge of a pond, this perennial also shows its high ornamental value. With a height between 45 and 60 centimetres, it towers over other species of its kind and is the perfect plant for natural gardens.

• The garden Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla mollis) has fairly large leaves that are soft and fluffy. It is a popular ground cover, which can reach a height of 50 centimetres and beautify large areas.

• The sparsely-foliated Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla epipsila) scores with its long flowering period and compact growth. Its stability after a steady rain, compared with other Alchemilla, is excellent.

• The dwarf Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla erythropoda) has reddish petioles and is recommended if you want to use a weaker variety in smaller areas or in the foreground of a bed. This pretty variety is drought-tolerant and can therefore be planted in a rock garden. It can also be planted in of all kinds of planting recepticles.

• The finely fingered dwarf Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla faeroensis ssp. Pumila) grows only about eight centimetres high and fits perfectly in a rock garden or in pots or planters.

   
 
   
 

More Information

• These plants belong to the rose family (Rosaceae). In the large genus Alchemilla more than 1000 species are counted, some of which look very similar.

• Flowering usually begins in June and can last until August.

• Wet meadows in the highlands and forest clearings in Europe, Asia and Africa are the natural sites of Alchemilla.

• The characteristic leaves had an effect on the naming, as it reminded some observers of the flowing coat of a female person (and especially the mantle of the Virgin Mary). Alchemists allegedly collected the shiny gold drops in the leaves, with the intention of turning them into real gold.

Use in Medicine

This versatile medicinal plant is recommended in folk medicine, for example, for mild diarrhoea. The entire herb (except the root) can be used. The tannins contained therein have an astringent effect and can strengthen the skin (including the intestinal mucosa) in order to ward off bacteria better. A tea made of Lady's Mantle is also used with menstrual or menopausal complaints.

Location

Alchemilla thrives in sunny to shady locations, with small species differences. It comes from the Caucasus and grows particularly well in rock gardens, for example. The soil should tend to be fresh to moist for most species, as well as permeable and rich in humus. The plants usually endure short wet periods or dryness without complaint. Even heavy clay soils are generally tolerated – however mixing in sand can be beneficial. Lean soils can be enriched with compost. Some lime in the soil is preferred; the pH may also be slightly acidic.

Planting

This plant is usually quite undemanding and very hardy. After planting, water frequently and regularly in order to achieve good growth. One should know that many species are strong and tend to spread in the garden. If you do not want this, you should cut back the flower stalks of the Alchemilla near the ground in the summer immediately after blooming (even before the seed formation). Do not worry: a new shoot will grow immediately afterwards! Another reason for cutting is that it preserves its beautiful growth habit, as its foliage often becomes somewhat unsightly over time. In the winter, as with many other perennials, Alchemilla dies back and thus spring pruning is eliminated.

If you want to specifically propagate or rejuvenate a plant that has become bare from the inside, you can divide the root ball very well with a spade in the spring.

Fertilisation

Use organic fertiliser (compost, horn shavings) every now and then to encourage growth. However, from the end of July, you should stop adding nutrients. Overall, Lady's Mantle only has moderate nutrient requirements.

 

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