Winter Aconites for Impact
by Mark Dwyer - posted 03/29/15



This blog is a tribute to the winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) which is blooming under the snow right now out in the gardens!  This is a fall planted bulb and is one of our first to bloom along with snowdrops (Galanthus sp.).  Actual timing will vary as we've seen them as early as February and as late as early April depending on how spring arrives.  In many cases, they will bloom up through the snow (see below).  They are blooming well for us right now and have reseeded and colonized nicely.  See further below for a photo of the seed head and some photos of some of our expanding colonies.  New seedlings will take 3-5 years to bloom but also go dormant and disappear with older specimens by late May.  Native to Southern France through Bulgaria, these buttercup relatives are in the Ranunculaceae family.  "Hyemalis" means "winter flowering" and is an apt description of the the bloom time.  We have winter aconites in many of our shade gardens as their bloom time corresponds to receiving plenty of sunlight before the overhead canopy of deciduous trees fills in and creates more shade.  The bulbs are inexpensive and many recommend that they are soaked prior to planting (they look like giant dried raisins when you buy them).  They are a true harbinger of spring and indispensable in the early spring garden where they'll provide decades of enjoyment as they continue to spread and add such cheery color!


















Mark has been the Director of Horticulture at Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville, WI for the last 14 years. Along with dedicated staff and volunteers, Mark coordinates the development and improvement of this 20-acre botanical showcase. Mark’s background is in landscape architecture and urban forestry although his true passion is obtaining, growing, observing and photographing all manner of plants.