Alchemilla is a genus of herbaceous perennial plants with the common name Lady's Mantle applied generically and specifically to Alchemilla mollis when referred to as garden plant, the plant used as herbal tea or for medicinal usage.
Its soft gray-green foliage is semi-round with scalloped-shaped leaves. In late spring and early summer, the plant produces nearly inconspicuous chartreuse (yellow-green) blooms. This Turkey and Carpathian Mountain native is a low-growing ground cover, about 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm) tall, and in addition to its attractive looks, it has an interesting background.
The plant's common name is said to have likely come from an ancient legend of it being used to adorn the Virgin Mary as her cloak was thought to resemble its scalloped leaves. Once a popular medicinal herb, Lady's Mantle's root and leaves were harvested in midsummer and used as poultices for bruises and wound healing. Its tea was used for easing menstrual pain in women as well.
Lady's Mantle is easy to grow. Typically, the plant grows well in regions with cool summers and moist, fertile soil and is hardy in USDA hardiness zones 3-7. While it can tolerate full sun, Lady's Mantle performs better in the shade when grown in warmer regions.
You should allow plenty of growing room for this plant and space them about 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm) apart. Individual plants should be planted at the same depth as their current container. It helps add a little fertilizer or compost to the bottom of the planting hole. Water generously afterward.
Additionally, Lady's Mantle can be sown outdoors after all danger of frost has passed. They may require cold stratification to germinate more quickly. The seeds should be just barely covered with soil and well-watered. If desired, you can also start them indoors 4 to 6 weeks before planting out. It takes about 3 to 4 weeks for them to germinate.
There's not much involved with caring for Lady's Mantle. It's a very carefree plant and doesn't require special attention or fertilizer.
Regular watering is only required when the plant is located in full sun or during times of extreme heat. Even then, it should be just enough to moisten the soil. It does not like to be waterlogged.
Warm regions with high humidity may have fungal problems, mainly if the crown is kept damp. Providing adequate air circulation and allowing the soil to dry out slightly should help remedy this.
Since Lady's Mantle is prone to reseeding and can become mildly aggressive in some areas, deadheading the flowers as they start to dry helps prevent the plant from spreading into unwanted parts of the garden. Though its foliage remains semi-evergreen throughout winter, you should remove older leaves as they brown.
In addition to seed propagation, the plant can be divided in spring or fall as needed.
- Back to genus Alchemilla
- Plantpedia: Browse flowering plants by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, or Origin