One of my favorite perennials is Lady’s Mantle. The large velvety leaves are the most striking aspect of this plant. These leaves have a pleated look and the soft downy texture allows water droplets to bead on the leaf surface after a rainfall.
The chartreuse flowers of the Lady’s Mantle grow in large airy sprays that tend to billow out around the plant. The flowers are very small and by themselves not very stunning. But their yellow green color does add a wonderful accent to other neighboring plants. Blooms begin in late spring and last 4 to 5 weeks.
Lady’s mantle grows best in cool summer climates which makes it a wonderful plant for Wisconsin gardens. It tolerates a wide range of soil types, but moist, fertile, well draining soil will provide optimum growth. This plant grows well in full sun to partial shade. In very hot sunny areas, the leaves of the plant may dry and turn crispy brown on the edges. Thus a moist soil will be very beneficial.
By midsummer the leaves may begin to look a bit tatty or brown. These can be clipped out, or the entire plant can be sheared in half. New fresh leaf growth will be back in a few weeks. Shearing the plant back should not be done in the fall as the plant will need these leaves to help it get through the winter.
The flowers can be cut back to the basal plant growth after they turn brown. Some gardeners don’t mind this look and may decide not to cut out the brown sprays. An advantage to this is that reseeding may occur. I have had great luck with reseeding of this plant in one of my garden beds. These small plants can then be relocated to other desirable spots in the garden.
The plant is low growing and will spread 1 to 2 feet. It can be grown as a ground cover or along an edging in a mixed border.
Lady’s mantle is a tough low-maintenance plant. It provides a wonderful cottage garden look to the perennial beds.
Until next time . . . happy gardening.
Nina Binkley, U.W. Extension Master Gardener Volunteer