- Anemone hepatica Hardy Planting Zones- 3-9 Sun or Shade – Partial Shade - Full Sun Mature Height - 4-6" Mature Width- 12-36" Bloom Season – Spring (April-May) Gardener Status- Beginner
Hepatica — Anemone americana
This delicate-seeming little flower, also named liverwort because its three-lobed leaves reminded someone of the human liver, does best in hardiness zones 3 to 9. It is one of the first flowers to bloom in spring, and a carpet of hepaticas on a lawn or in a garden is a refreshing sight. It is a relative of the buttercup.
The hepatica grows from 1 to 6 inches high. Somewhat unusually, the leaves of the hepatic don’t open until the flowers bloom. The plant bears these flowers, which can be pale purple, blue, white or pink on a single stalk. The flowers are about 1/2 inch to an inch wide, and one plant can have many flower-bearing stems. The colorful colored components of the flowers are not real petals but sepals. They surround the stamens and are supported by green bracts that are ovoid with rounded or blunted tips.
The leaves are also borne on stalks, and the oval lobes are all about the same size. They begin as a light green when they first open, then turn darker over time. They last throughout the winter and only wither when the flowers return the next spring.
The hepatica is native to North America and is a perennial, which means it returns year after year. It does best in woodlands where it can receive hours of mixed shade and sun. However, the plant is quite sturdy and can tolerate alkaline soil that is rich in limestone and can do well in areas that get full sun. Ideally, the hepatica needs moist soil and a covering of snow in the winter, though frost injures it. The bloom season is April to May, though in warmer climates the flowers can appear as early as February.
Hepatica can be grown from seed, but it takes some years before the plant is ready to bloom. If the facility is divided, the new plants may also take some time to grow pleasingly dense. But patience rewards the garden who chooses this beautiful flower.