Eranthis Hyemalis (Winter Aconite)
Tulips, narcissi, hyacinths, snowdrops…. there are so many beautiful flower bulbs, and they all have their own charm and characteristics. In this blog series we would like to introduce you to a variety of them, helping you to make the best choices for your garden and grow the spring display of your dreams!
Bulb Me Up Buttercup.
Amidst all the showy boldness of flowers like narcissus, hyacinths or tulips, tiny yellow Eranthis Hyemalis (Winter Aconite) has a tendency to be one of the forgotten bulbs. At DutchGrown we feel it’s time to change that. This cute little cousin of the buttercup might be a little bit rarer, but it is definitely worth growing in your garden, pot or container.
Short-stemmed & Early.
Eranthis originated in woodland habitats, so it’s extra happy when you plant it under a tree, provided the soil is well draining and rich in humus. Winter Aconite can start flowering as early as February, but the short-stemmed flowers are quite picky: they love the sun so much that they only open when it shines, choosing to remain closed when skies are overcast.
Eranthis Hyemalis (Winter Aconite) doesn’t grow very tall, just 4 inches. However, this makes it an ideal size for carpet-planting. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your whole garden would be covered in large swathes of yellow flowers this early in the year?
Eranthis has no fragrance.
As a member of the Ranunculaceae family, Eranthis is buttercup-yellow, with dark green leaves that are divided into several lobes which only emerge after the flowers have come out.
- Bloom time
Eranthis blooms in late winter and early spring, about the same time as snowdrops.
- Longevity (Perennial/Annual)
Eranthis is a perennial bulb, meaning it comes back every year. When it approves of the place you have planted it, it might even start multiplying, making it a naturalizing flower bulb as well.
Like all flower bulbs, Eranthis will do best in well-drained soil. Since Eranthis originates in woodland areas, it will thrive in soil that is very rich in organic matter, ideally with a lot of humus.
Pick a location that gets full sun in February and early March when the flower blooms, but which will get increasingly more shade towards the end of March. Aconite will feel at home under trees and rose bushes, but it is also great for container planting.
An important thing to know about Eranthis is that it needs to get consistent moisture all year round, the soil should not dry out! This means you might have to water them whenever there isn’t enough rainfall in your area.
Aconite bulbs need to be soaked for one night before you plant them.
Plant the little bulbs 2-3” deep, and 3” apart, in late summer to early fall. And good news, they’re deer resistant.
- Forcing (for indoor blooming)
If you want to enjoy Eranthis indoors, it’s a good idea to start forcing them 12 to 16 weeks before your intended blooming time.
Find a well-draining pot, and fill it up to three quarters with rich gardening soil. Put in the Eranthis bulbs, and completely cover them up with more soil until the pot is filled up to ½ to ¼ inch from the rim. Water well until it seeps through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. Cool the bulbs by exposing them to temperatures between 35-50 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 to 16 weeks. This can be in an old refrigerator, an unheated garage or a cold basement. After 12 weeks check the pot: if the bulbs won’t really budge when you wiggle them and you see roots growing through the drainage holes, they are ready for the next step: Gradually expose them to warmer temperatures, starting with a dark, cooler room where it’s 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the shoots turn green you can expose the pot to warmer temperatures and more sunlight to stimulate flowering. Make sure to rotate the pot regularly, so all shoots get equal amounts of light. After a week, place them in an even warmer room with even more sunlight, so they will give you maximum flowering. To make them last longer, it’s a good idea to place them in a cool room at night.
- Container Planting
Pick a well-draining pot or planter, filling it with loose, rich soil. Soak the dry tubers overnight and plant them about 2 inches deep in early fall or even late summer. When you make sure to keep the soil moist throughout the autumn, early spring will bring you a bright burst of yellow joy on your table, deck or windowsills.
Eranthis is the kind of flower bulb that is at its best when it’s mass planted. Fortunately, we’re all about the bulk buy here at DutchGrown, and the more Eranthis you order, the cheaper they get. For 500 bulbs you’ll pay $0.26 per tuber, and if you’re planting on a bigger scale, 10,000 bulbs will cost $0.19 per bulb.
Snowdrops are great companions to Winter Aconite (Eranthis). Either plant them separately for contrast, or mix them together for a yellow and white flower feast.
Watch out though: Eranthis are vigorous and are likely to swamp crocuses and other slower-growing bulbs and tubers, so do keep them apart when planting.
Click & Plant
A garden full of top quality Eranthis is only a few clicks away: Pop on over to our website and make sure that your early spring garden of 2020 will be awash with the cute flowers of the Winter Aconite!