Amber Queen Bishop’s Hat, Barrenwort
Bright yellow spider-like flowers tipped with an orange- red cap bloom April –May. The ¼ to ½ inch flowers seem to float in space on thin, arching stems. The flowers were self cleaning and did not require deadheading. May not bloom each year based on early conditions.
Foliage interest – color/texture
Spring foliage is green mottled red and a slightly serrated edge. In summer the full heart-shaped leaves turn all green; sometimes with a yellow tinge moving into fall. Foliage remained attractive after bloom cycle and persisted throughout the fall and early winter.
Habit and growth rate observations
As with all Epimediums, Amber Queen has a slow growth rate. The clumps can be sparse and loose or full and mounded. Plants ranged in size from 6 inches by 10 inches to 10 inches by 14 inches. Older foliage was removed in late winter or early spring before the new growth began.
Site preference – soil & light
Amber Queen tolerates clay to loamy garden soils and very dry conditions once established. Placed under an Oak, Norway Maple or a deep shade border, the plant had a good success rate.
Successes and possible drawbacks – how to overcome them
Give plant time to get established and mark location upon planting in garden. To stave off early spring frost damage, keep mulched as long as possible.
Notes from growers/retailers
Grow this plant on the dry side with low fertility. Its slow rate at production makes this a 2 year crop. Overall Amber Queen presents with low maintenance requirements. Keep plants cleaned and watch for Black Vine Weevil.
Brunnera macrophylla, Daffodils and Ajuga ‘Caitlin’s Giant’, Carex
Parting SHOT – the overall evaluation results were Good***
Epimedium Amber Queen is recommended for its long spring bloom-time and petite yet showy flowers as well as for its foliage. Slow growing, it is a wonderful groundcover or specimen plant for full shade and typically difficult spots under trees with dry shade conditions.