Who else likes potentillia?

lavender_lass(4b)March 1, 2011

My new favorite shrub, just may be potentillia (cinquefoil). I have six little yellow ones and they are wonderful! They're very winter hardy, deer don't eat them, they bloom all summer, they have cute little flowers and they seem very happy in my clay soil, being watered overhead by the sprinkler :)

This spring, I'm thinking of trying some pink and maybe some white ones, too. Along with my butterfly bushes (which seem to be pretty hardy, so far) and lilacs, they are my best 'deer defense' shrubs! LOL

I'm thinking of putting the potentillia on either side of some of my arches. I think the pink ones, and the white ones too, would be beautiful with the sweet peas...and the yellow ones will look amazing with some blue morning glories!

Does anyone else like potentillia? Here are some pictures (not mine) but they show how pretty, this little shrub is.

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I like them. They do attract bees, which may be a problem if they are beside a path.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 10:26PM
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YES! I want to get some yellow ones!!! Pink is nice too!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 12:16AM
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I've never seen them except in magazines. Do they have a pleasant fragrance, if any?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 4:02AM
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squirejohn zone4 VT

A great shrub. We have two (yellow)ones that are long bloomers but attract more Japanese beetles than bees. We also had a white one (Abbotswood?) that didn't bloom as well and gave it away.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 5:57AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Just a small point Lavender lass - the pictures you have shown are not actually of shrubby potentillas, ie various forms of P fruticosa, but of some of the many herbaceous potentillas. Lots of these are lovely plants but they aren't shrubs.

1. looks like P aurea
2. looks like P alba
3. looks P nitida (a compact alpine)

If people are looking to obtain shrubby Potentillas they need to make sure they get cultivars of P fruticosa. They don't mind fairly poor soil, they like sun and but they are not very long-lived. A trim over after flowering keeps them fresh and tidy but they do not always survive heavy cutting back. Pity about the Japanese beetles. They have no pests I am aware of over here.

To answer sweetannie4u's question, no they have no fragrance that I have ever noticed.

Here is a link that might be useful: Potentilla fruticosa images

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 6:22AM
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Flora- Good eye! I just pulled some photos of the flowers...but those yellow ones look just like my little shrubs. They're so cheerful!

I've never noticed a fragrance, but I didn't need to trim them back, either. As for bees, no bees showed ANY interest in mine, but maybe that's different in other areas.

One reason I'm going to get more (and put them by the arches) is that the bees left them completely alone. They're much more interested in the catmint, lavender and sunflowers :)

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 9:28AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I don't particularly like the yellow ones (because I don't particularly like yellow flowers...) but the 'Pink Beauty' ones are a key plant in a couple of places. The 'pretty in pink' driveway border is built around a backbone of 'Pink Beauty'. It remains in flower most of the summer while other pink things come and go. In early and late summer the flowers are a nice pink; in the heat of the summer they fade to almost white.

I've never noticed many bees on them. And the Japanese beetles didn't seem very interested in them either.

I remove a third of the stems (the oldest/thickest) at ground level in early spring to keep them nicely shaped and the plant renewed.

I have both of the white varieties (Abbotswood and Mackay's). They are nice in bloom but really only bloom once and not all summer like the pink ones. I haven't tried any of the reds or peachy colors.

I use the potentillas as supporting cast for showier companions rather than as 'stars'. Some pictures of Pink Beauty in my garden:

This one is from late July when the flowers are more white. They were planted to spill over the concrete curb along the driveway to soften the look:

From mid-August when it is supporting cast for hardy hibiscus:

This is one of the white ones blooming with the seed-grown Angel roses. With the little roses you can see fairly clearly see that they are both members of the rose family.

I like this combination with the lilies at the begining of August:

This if from the begining of September when the flowers are a deeper peachy-pink.

So I'd highly recommend a few Pink Beauty for your garden! Their biggest drawback is that they don't begin to leaf out here until almost the end of May. But, once they do leaf out, they're ready to to take off immediately and participate in the garden show all through summer and into early fall.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 9:58AM
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I've never bought a potentilla. The yellow shrubs that came with the previous house were over 20 years old and survived transplanting. I cut out the old/dead wood once in a while, otherwise it's a no care plant. The shrubs transplanted to our current abode are coming into their own, third season.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 11:32AM
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The yellow potentilla has been in several gardens of houses we've bought. I have one that I brought from our last home that's over 20 years old now. They do need the old wood removed otherwise get very gangly and bare branched. It's not my all time fav but is a hardy low care shrub. Doesn't grow as tall in zone 3 as the ones in my zone 6 garden did.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 12:04PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

I'm intrigued by your old specimens. I wonder if it's to do with the damp conditions over here. All the sources I've ever read consider them to be short-lived. Mine is about 5 years old but looking very scraggly. Woodyoak, it's entirely green already here.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 12:23PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

First off...woodyoak love what you have done in that bed. The purple and white combos with the pink potentilla are especially nice. What is the silvery leafed plant in the last pic??

Sorry to say it, but I'm not a huge fan of Potentilla shrubs ;-( Mine always look scruffy and not very green and lush after blooming.

However, I DO like the perennial (non shrub) type Potentilla. Simply love the P. hopwoodiana I got at a Manito plant sale awhile back. I call it my "strawberries n' cream' plant because the flowers start off a nice clear pink and fade slightly to pink with a cream blushed center.

Isn't she pretty? Paired it last year with blue Dracocephalum moldavica and loved the combo. Might need to repeat that this spring.

Also have a double red 'William Rollisson', but it has only bloomed once in three years. Hummm...maybe if I stopped moving the poor guy around he would have a chance to. LOL.

Here is a link that might be useful: More P. hopwoodiana.....

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 2:14PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

The silver plant in the last picture is ordinary culinary sage! I find both its flowers and foliage very ornamental. There's a big patch of it on the south side of the drivway.

I don't have any of the perennial types of potentillas - because there is a pesky weed here that looks just like them. (I think it's actually a relative of the ornamental nes...) If I planted the perennial ones, I would probably end up weeding them out by mistake! :-)

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 2:38PM
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squirejohn zone4 VT

A number of years ago when working in Newfoundland I saw quite a few P. fruticosa growing in the wild.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 4:27PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

-woodyoak, thanks for the info. Yes! I love Salvia officinalis as well. The flowers are so incredible that I started more by cuttings last year to incorporate in the gardens (not just the herb/veg patch). It has been surprisingly long-lived too, which is a bonus since I love to cook with it.

Lol, no weedy Potentilla here. But I can relate to not wanting any perennials that remind you of the weeds you are constantly yanking. ;-)

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 10:36AM
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I do although I've heard it referred to as 'gas station plant' on GardenWeb. All the big box stores here use it to line the parking lots.

I planted a yellow one at the old house and it always had tiny bee like things swarming it.

I ordered a pink one for our new house.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Blog

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 12:15PM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

Woodyoak, I'm going to take your lead and incorporate the 6 potentilla I have into the garden as the supporting cast. Right now I have them lined up (not my usual planting style) at the end of my driveway. I purchased 'Mango Tango' hoping for a bright pop, but they are pretty much the same as the plain old yellow. In cooler weather sometimes a darker orange eye will show. I find them ho-hum, but that's probably because I expect too much from them. Now you have me thinking.......

I've never had bees or japanese beetles on them and haven't noticed a scent either.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 8:22PM
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I have had the white shrub, Abotswood for at least 10 years. It is growing in very dry sandy soil in full sun. I really like the perennial potentilla the best. They are very easy to start from seed and are not something to be viewed from afar but, close up they are simple but beautiful.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 10:37AM
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I splurged on 'Pink Beauty' last year just because (a) it's been years since I bought a shrub of any type; (b) the price was right; and (c) I have very little pink in my full sun garden beds. I'm amazed it survived 4 months of drought but kept it as hydrated as possible. I'm looking forward to seeing it bloom this year and adding more of these grown from 'Melton Fire' and 'Monarch's Velvet' seeds I got in trade that I winter sowed.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 7:58AM
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