Tag Archives: Pulsatilla vulgaris

Advice for May from the head gardener

How to grow Pulsatilla vulgaris

This bright little rock plant is one to reach out and touch. The leaves and seedheads are so silky smooth and feathery you can barely feel them. Better yet, when the light catches them from behind they almost have a halo glow.  The flowers can be upright or nod around on the end of the very slender stems. They are plants for gravel gardens and very well drained soil. They’re no more than 30cm high – usually about 20cm, so we’ve hundreds of them planted on hummocks and slopes in our quarry garden so we don’t have to bend too far down to appreciate them close-up.  A slope helps with drainage too and lets you see them backlit when the sun is out.

Close up of a single pinky mauve flower with a yellow centre.

Pulsatilla vulgaris is perfect for gravel gardens

Perfect flowers for a well drained site  – see them in our quarry garden

They’ve a reputation for being in flower at Easter and a common name of Pasque (passion) flower to go with this Easter link. Mind you, with the cold start and the early Easter this year ours were nowhere to be seen and they’re a bit later this year than normal. They’ll flower for a good 4 – 6 weeks though so they earn their place. The colour range runs from a very deep red wine through violet, lilac and pinker shades to a white.  I don’t think any are garish colours, there’s something soft and sophisticated about them.

They are best grown from winter root cuttings, or by potting on self-sown seedlings. Bear in mind they take a while to establish a long tap root and mature plants hate to be disturbed. Put them where you want them rather than mess them about.  Once established they will give you years of enjoyment.”

Man in grey jumper admiring a Magnolia Felix 'Jury'

Nick Haworth, Head Gardener