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Mid-sized Epimedium Hybrids Including Epimedium youngianum

Below, I have described mid-sized Epimedium youngianum and other hybrids in order to help you select the best plants for your site. There are too many Epimediums to list in a single article so check out the others in the series to see other categories such as large flowered Epimediums or small statured Epimediums. The most familiar group of epimediums are mid-sized plants that represent what most folks typically think of as epimediums. Plants in this group average around 18″ tall x 18″ wide and are composed of several species and hybrid groups. From smallest to largest, they include E. sempervirens, E. x youngianum (E. diphyllum x E. grandiflorum), E. grandiflorum, E. koreanum, and a series of interspecific hybrids. Plantsman Darrell Probst has interesting theories on these confusing groups and their origin that he will hopefully publish one day. Epimedium x youngianum represents a large group of hybrids between E. diphyllum and E. grandiflorum. A few forms are tardily deciduous, indicating that some hybrids attributed to this group may not belong here. E. x youngianum is represented by a large number of hybrids in the trade including, Epimedium ‘Baby Doll Pink’ (small clump with small pale pink flowers), Epimedium x youngianum ‘Be My Valentine’ (very floriferous clump with dark pink sepals with a white cup), Epimedium ‘Beni-kujaku’ (light lavender flowers), Epimedium ‘Capella’ (pink sepals and white spurs), Epimedium ‘Fairy Dust’ (small light pink flowers), Epimedium ‘Grape Fizz’ (small light lavender flowers), Epimedium ‘Liliputian’ (very dwarf white with nice white flowers), Epimedium ‘Milk Chocolate’ (chocolate mottled leaves and white flowers), Epimedium ‘Milky Way’ (white), Epimedium ‘Murasaki Shikibu’ (purple sepals and white spurs), Epimedium ‘Pink Star’ (pale pink, nearly white), Epimedium ‘Purple Heart’ (bronze leaves and white flowers), Epimedium ‘Royal Flush’ (reddish bronze foliage and light pink lavender flowers), Epimedium ‘Ruby Tuesday’ (pink spurs with a violet cup), Epimedium x youngianum ‘Tamabotan’ (purple foliage and light lavender flowers)’, Epimedium ‘White Cloud’ (small clump with white flowers), and Epimedium ‘White Star’ (white flowers). We find each of these to be dramatic improvements over Epimedium x youngianum ‘Niveum’ and Epimedium x youngianum ‘Roseum’. Some clones of E. x youngianum also have a second flush of foliage that obscures the flowers, but the problem isn’t nearly as prevalent as in E. sempervirens or E. diphyllum. As expected, E. x youngianum is usually intermediate between the spreading clumps of E. diphyllum and the tight clumps of E. grandiflorum. Epimedium x rubrum (Zone 4-8) is a name used for a group of semi-evergreen hybrids between E. alpinum and probably E. sempervirens (Probst – Garden Vision catalog 1997). E. x rubrum is most prized for its leaves, which emerge with a stunning reddish margin. The short spikes of pinkish red flowers can be obscured if the old foliage is not removed before flowering. The unnamed clone in the trade is widespread thanks to the fact that it spreads well via rhizomes. A much more vigorous clone named Epimedium ‘Sweetheart’ was introduced by Darrell Probst. As with E. grandiflorum, the attractive red leaf edges don’t occur until flowering is finished. Epimedium x versicolor (Zone 5-8) is the name for a group of hybrids between the deciduous Japanese E. grandiflorum and the European native evergreen Epimedium pinnatum first raised in the Ghent, Belgium Botanic Garden in the mid 1800s. These hybrids are known for their stunning new foliage, which is chocolate, highlighted by green veins. From Zone 7 south, the foliage remains evergreen, but becomes deciduous as you head further north. The well-spreading Epimedium x versicolor is represented in the trade by Epimedium ‘Sulphureum’ (evergreen, new foliage brown with green veins, light yellow outer sepals, light yellow spur and cup), Epimedium ‘Neosulphureum’ (tan new evergreen foliage and creamy sepals with a yellow cup), and Epimedium ‘Versicolor’ (deciduous, stunning netted new foliage of dark cinnamon, peach sepals with a yellow cup). My favorite of the group is Epimedium x versicolor ‘Cherry Tart’ (cinnamon foliage and light pink sepals, dark pink spurs, and a yellow-tip cup. We hope you enjoyed this description of the Epimedium youngianum cultivars and that you will read our other aritcles in the series.