February - Winter Aconite slider

February

Winter Aconite

Eranthis hyemalis

Well known for being one of the earliest flowering plants of the year, Winter Aconite often makes an appearance even before Snowdrops, and the two complement each other well to create a full and pretty flowering border. A relative of the Buttercup, their golden yellow flowers can bring some much needed colour to the garden during the winter months.

Planting

Winter Aconite will establish easily when planted in leaf during or just after their flowering season in March. They can also be planted from seed about the same time or dry tubers can be bought in the autumn, but this is not as reliable. They do best in a full or partially shady spot below a tree but are also fine in the sun. The soil should be moist but well drained and fertile, so you may need to improve the planting area with some compost.

Caring

These hardy plants grow up to 13cm tall and 10cm wide and over time will re-seed and spread over time to create a full carpet of growth. They need very little maintenance other than watering over the summer, especially until they are established. One thing that is important to remember though is not to trim or mow the foliage back as this is essential to feed the bulbs and ensure the plant flowers the following year. Be aware also that all parts of the plant are harmful if eaten and the sap is an irritant to skin and eyes.