plants that go dormant?

sandrakclev(zone 5 OH)March 20, 2007

Hi - I have a small area that I want to make into a woodland garden. Because space is limited, I'd like to make the most of what I plant there by interspersing plants that go dormant after flowering in with the other plants. Would somebody please provide a list of plants that go dormant?



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Here are some plants that go dormant: bloodroot, trillium, virginia bluebells, mayapple, trout lily, lady slipper, dutchman's breeches. These are all native spring ephemerals.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 9:18PM
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Most bulbs will go dormant. Check out some of the arisemias sp? some may do well in your area. You might like to check on fall blooming plants to add.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 12:00AM
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sandrakclev(zone 5 OH)

Thanks for the help - you've given me some ideas to work with.
As for fall blooming plants, I've found a few, but they seem to be hard to come by for woodlands. I'll keep searching, though.
Thanks for the help!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 10:51PM
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gonativegal(zone 5a)


Another nice native ephemeral are the Spring Beauties - Claytonia virginica. Sometimes the bulb companies carry this little gem.

They're a carpet forming, pale pink spring bulb - it will spread fast once established. It spreads much like the non-native Siberian Squill.

Speaking of Siberian Squill, no matter how tempting, DO NOT PLANT. The non-native squill as it decays forms a wet, fleshy mat which is so thick that it delays and in some cases smothers the growth of other desireable plants. The Spring Beauty is a far superior substitute as it does not do this as it decays and goes dormant.

Good Luck in your search!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 1:24AM
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My favorite ephemeral is anemonella thalictroides. Another nice one is dodecatheon media.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 9:12AM
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waplummer(Z5 NY)

Bloodroot, trillium, mayapple, and lady slipper do NOT go dormant. Neither do Arisaemas. All will provide interest after flowering into the fall. Spring beauty is a charmer. Leaves of mine started emerging in December. It can form large patches which are spectacular in the spring. Virginia bluebells and both Squirrel corn and dutchman's britches are other favorites of mine that are true ephemerals. I would not be without either the true or false Solomon Seal. Twinleaf is another with ephemeral flowers, but makes a handsome accent in my garden.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 10:36AM
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White wood aster will give you some fall color. They are small.

Did anyone mention trout lily for spring "bulbs"?


    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 8:55PM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

"Bloodroot, trillium, mayapple, and lady slipper do NOT go dormant." They go dormant where I live.

Trout lily is kind of picky, in my experience.

You may want to look for some fall blooming orchids.

I have just the opposite problem. Most woodland plants are ephemeral and I am always looking for plants that hold on to its foliage after the ephemerals have gone into hiding.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 2:37PM
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knottyceltic(S/W Ontario 5b)

"Bloodroot, trillium, mayapple, and lady slipper do NOT go dormant." They go dormant where I live.

Same for me in southern Ontario. By the time the super-hot days of summer come almost all spring ephemerals have gone dormant. Even the Jacks go all except for the biggest ones that are in moister areas.

It's not native but Bleeding Hearts often look nice in a woodland setting with their fernlike leaves and they also go dormant by the heat of summer.

May I ask why you want plants that disappear?

southern Ontario, CANADA

    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 3:45PM
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sandrakclev(zone 5 OH)

I want to plant them among plants that grow later in the season so that I have interest for spring, summer, and fall. Since space is limited, I thought that planting ephemerals would allow me to get the maximum use of what space I have.

You've all given me a lot of good ideas. I appreciate the help!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 8:30AM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

Anemone nemorosa is charming in spring and goes dormant in the summer. It can make carpets of low foliage studded with flowers.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 5:18AM
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Lady Slippers DO go dormant-I just planted one (end of June) and was told by the supplier it was ready to go into dormancy.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 3:01PM
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For some plants it depends on where you live and how much rain you get in the hot summer. Bloodroot and T. grandiflorum, for example, last all season for me if we have rain. If not, they melt away. Jacks persist if we have rain, but this year, for example, they are going down fast with this heat! (No seeds this season, I expect.)

Don't forget the native Hexastylis which don't seem to need much rain, and the Asarum canadense is great if you have moisture.

I love the ferns I have in the shade. They appear to do well, even if rainfall is not abundant, and they cover the spaces where the true ephemerals are. Native Dixie Wood and non-native autumn seem to last well, and they are both evergreen.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 8:44AM
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I guess it does depend on where you live. My Lady Slipper is now dormant, leaves are dying down, roots are fine. Heavily mulched. I have Dixie Wood Fern that is doing pretty well, Autumn ferns are doing great as well as Holly Ferns. Thank goodness the furnace like weather has subsided, maybe now the hosta will take on some growth. Lost a Maiden fern from the heat and not enough water. Trillium did so so this year. Shade gardens are pretty but a lot of work & water.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 8:57AM
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