In the UK, Epimedium plants are charmingly known as Bishop’s Hat flowers, owing to the distinctive shape of their blossoms. These dainty blooms thrive in shaded corners of your garden and are truly a sight to behold. Did you know that their petals bear a striking resemblance to a tiny bishop’s hat?

Epimedium, often referred to as Bishop’s Hat, encompasses a diverse range of species, with over 30 known varieties. These delightful ground cover plants flourish in partial to dry shade and make excellent companions for trees or shrubs. Some are evergreen, while others shed their leaves, revealing stunning autumn hues.

These diminutive plants typically reach heights of 20 to 30 centimeters and prefer well-draining, fertile soil. Their blossoms come in an array of colors, including yellow, white, red, and various shades of pink and purple, gracing your garden with their presence primarily in April and May.

Epimedium leaves

Varieties of Epimedium

Although all Bishop’s Hat varieties possess their unique charm, I’d like to introduce you to some of my personal favorites:

1. Epimedium Rubrum

Epitomizing elegance, Epimedium Rubrum flaunts vibrant carmine-red blooms in April and May. Standing at a modest height of 20 to 30 centimeters, this deciduous ground cover plant retains its ornamental value even after flowering. It thrives in partial shade and can be divided and replanted if it outgrows its space.

2. Epimedium Grandiflorum (Grandiflora)

Epimedium Grandiflorum, whether referred to as Grandiflora or Grandiflorum, represents a petite, semi-evergreen perennial. Its young leaves boast a delightful green with a hint of pink, darkening to a richer green in winter and transitioning to bronze-red in the autumn. This variety reaches a height of approximately 30 centimeters and sheds its leaves during the winter months. While the typical variety blooms in white, other cultivars, such as ‘Lila Fee,’ ‘Rose Queen,’ and ‘Koji,’ offer captivating alternatives.

3. Epimedium Grandiflorum ‘Lila Fee’

With its enchanting deep pink to purple-hued blossoms, Epimedium Grandiflorum ‘Lila Fee’ is a delightful addition to any garden in April and May.

4. Epimedium Grandiflorum ‘Rose Queen’

Featuring rosy-red flowers with long, pointed white spurs, Epimedium Grandiflorum ‘Rose Queen’ bursts into exuberant bloom in April and May. Beyond its vibrant spring display, ‘Rose Queen’ graces your garden with decorative autumn foliage and sheds its leaves in winter.

5. Epimedium Grandiflorum ‘Akebono’

A delicate light-pink bloomer, Epimedium Grandiflorum ‘Akebono’ adorns your garden with its 25-centimeter stature and deciduous habit. Expect to see this enchanting variety in full bloom during April and May.

6. Epimedium Youngianium ‘Niveum’

Dressed in pristine white, Epimedium Youngianium ‘Niveum’ adds a touch of purity to your garden. This diminutive perennial, standing at around 20 centimeters, graces your outdoor space with its delicate blossoms in April and May. Its counterpart, the Youngianium ‘Roseum,’ boasts a light pink hue.

7. Epimedium ‘Frohnleiten’ (or perralchicum ‘Frohnleiten’)

Whether you call it Epimedium ‘Frohnleiten,’ perralchicum, or perralchicum ‘Frohnleiten,’ this variety enchants with its bright yellow blooms from April to May. Its evergreen leaves stay lush through winter.

8. Epimedium Sagittatum

One of the yellow-flowered Bishop’s Hat varieties, Epimedium Sagittatum reaches heights between 20 and 30 centimeters and blooms in April and May. This robust variety retains its leaves throughout the summer but loses them in winter, only to re-emerge in spring.

Epimedium ‘Orange Queen’

9. Epimedium ‘Orange Queen’

Epimedium ‘Orange Queen’ is a distinctive variety with orange-yellow blossoms. This European native thrives in both dry and shaded conditions. Standing at heights ranging from 10 to 30 centimeters, it’s a hardy, evergreen ground cover option for shaded or partially shaded areas.

10. Bishop’s Hat ‘Koreanum’

Robust and compact, Bishop’s Hat ‘Koreanum’ reaches a height of approximately 20 centimeters. Its pale yellow blooms grace the garden in April and May, and it retains its evergreen foliage throughout the year.

11. Epimedium ‘Pink Champagne’

Epimedium ‘Pink Champagne’ boasts delicate raspberry-toned blooms with yellow stamens and a light pink center. Its reddish-brown speckled leaves endure through winter, making this variety an attractive year-round addition to your garden.

Whether you opt for one or several of these enchanting Bishop’s Hat varieties, they are sure to add an element of grace and charm to your garden throughout the seasons.