20 July 2020

How to grow Cinquefoils (potentilla): useful tips

By Christopher Brickell

Learn how to grow Cinquefoils from seeds and seedling, learn about its features and how to care for it.

Most of the species of this genus can be found in the northern hemisphere in natural conditions. Potentilla comes from the Latin word “potent” – “mighty, strong”. Apparently, it means an incredible healing power of individual representatives of this genus.

grow Cinquefoils

There are approximately 500 types of potentilla around the world, mainly herbaceous plants, but there are also shrubs among them. Grass and shrubs belonging to this genus are also cultivated in gardens. Today, the plant is mostly used as an ornamental one. Specialists plant it on a green lawn as a solitaire, and it is used for curbs, alpine slides and hedges decoration.

Cinquefoils features

Representatives of this genus are semi-shrubs and herbaceous plants, which can be annuals, biennials and perennials. Shoots of such plants are often straight, ascending or enlarged, and creeping. Leaf plates are pinnate or multi-divided, and they are painted greyish-green or green.The height of semi-shrubs can reach up to 150 centimetres, and their diameter sometimes reaches 100 centimetres.

Flowers are part of the inflorescences, but there are also species with single flowers. They can be painted in a variety of colours, such as golden yellow, pink, white, red, orange and cream. Long-term flowering is observed in May-September. The fruit contains a lot of achene (10-80 pieces), most often naked, but it can also be hairy. The larger the size of the fruit, the more exotic it is.

Cinquefoils – planting and care

grow Cinquefoils

If you want to grow Cinquefoils, you should know that almost all representatives of this genus are notable for their undemanding growing conditions, with the exception of the Potentilla nitida. It it recommended to grow it in the southern exposure, choosing for it dry sandy soil. One more exception is Potentilla alba – it likes to grow in a shady place. As for the remaining species, well lit areas that should be shaded in the afternoon by other plants are most suitable. The soil they need is slightly acidic, loose, nutrient-rich and well-drained, with a little lime in it. At the same time, remember that Potentilla arctica needs acidic soil.

How do you grow Cinquefoils out of seeds?

If you plan to grow Cinquefoils, you need to know that it can be multiplied by different methods, e.g. growing out of seeds. Specialists recommend sowing directly in open soil in autumn. In winter these seeds are naturally stratified, so that in spring they give a friendly germination and you only need to plant them. Seeds can be sown in open soil and in spring. However, planting through seedlings is a more reliable way to do so.

For this purpose, the seeds should be sown in February or March, and the container should be covered with a film until the first shoots appear. Put it in a place with a temperature of 15 to 18 Celsius degrees. Once the seedlings grow real leaf plates, make their dive on peat or individual cups.

The growth of seedlings is relatively slow, but at the end of the summer period seedlings can already be transplanted into open soil. Young plants will need shelter in order to survive the winter. Flowering occurs only in the second year. These plants reproduce well by self-sowing.

How to plant Cinquefoils shrub

grow Cinquefoils shrub

In early spring, when the snow melts and the ground gets a little warmer, you should start planting shrub seedlings. If you grow Cinquefoils and want to plant it, you should know that the width and depth of the pit should be a couple of times larger than the container in which the seedling grows. If you are planting several shrubs, remember that the distance between them should be 0.3 m. A drainage layer should be made at the bottom of the pit and lime gravel should be poured into it.

Then the pit should be filled with ½ part of the soil mixture, which includes leafy ground, humus and sand (2:2:1), and it is necessary to pour 150 grams of complex mineral fertilizer. Putting a seedling in a planting hole, you should consider that its root neck should slightly rise above the surface of the ground. Then fill the hole with soil, which should be well compacted.

If you grow Cinquefoils, water the plant extensively. During 20 days, you should make sure that the pads always have enough water. In order to reduce the speed at which the soil dries, you should cover it with a layer of mulch (bark, straw or sawdust). If necessary, you can be plant it on the last summer or first autumn days.

Cinquefoils care

grow Cinquefoils yellow

It’s easy enough to grow Cinquefoils and it doesn’t matter if it’s a shrub or a herbaceous plant. For normal growth and development, you need to water it regularly, loosen the ground surface, remove weeds, feed the plant, remove fading flowers and mulch the ground on the plot. Water it only in case of prolonged drought, and pour 10 litres of warm water under each bush once in half a month. If you sprinkle mulch (sawdust or peat) in spring, remove weeds and loosen the ground relatively rarely.

During the summer period you should sprinkle mulch 2 or 3 times on the area. Feed the plant three times during the season (in May, July and August or September), using mineral fertiliser for flowering plants. For more magnificent flowering, it is also recommended to spray the plant with water in the evening after a hot day.

How to multiply Cinquefoils

multiply plants

If you grow Cinquefoils from seed, you need to know that it can be multiplied by cutting and dividing the root. Reproduction with cuttings is possible in July or August and it is recommended to divide the root in spring (April or May) or autumn (first days of September).

A specimen at least four years old is suitable for division; you should dig it out, wash the root with water and then divide it into cuttings using a very sharp, presterilized knife. Remember that each cut should have 2 or 3 buds. The roots should be treated with a growth stimulant. Then they should be planted in the soil and the buds should not be deepened. Remember that 20 to 40 centimetres of empty space should be left between the dividers.

The length of cuttings varies from 8 to 10 centimetres, you should prepare them from stem ends, having cut off all flowers beforehand. Use a moistened perlite for rooting, keep the cuttings for 4-6 weeks in a room that does not get frozen. Cuttings can also be rooted directly in open soil. Choose a place in the shade, and use a glass jar or a trimmed bottle as a shelter. Spray the cuttings several times a day. Remove any buds that have appeared because they can weaken the plant considerably. They should be covered with a fir-twigs for the winter.

If you grow Cinquefoils you should also know that the easiest way to multiply Cinquefoils is layering. In springtime, you should find a stem that grows very close to the ground surface. You should make a cut on its outer side. Then place it in the prepared groove with the notch downwards, fix it in this position (always in this place) and cover with soil. In autumn, a good root system should develop at the outlet. At the same time, it should be cut off from the mother bush and planted in a permanent place.

How to prune Cinquefoils

grow Cinquefoils

If you grow Cinquefoils, you need to know how to prune it. Shrub of Cinquefoils needs to be pruned in early spring, before the opening of the buds, as well as in autumn. If you don’t trim it, the bush will become shaggy and look sloppy. Pruning can be sanitary. All traumatized, dried out branches as well as those that grow inwards should be cut during the trimming process.

In spring, you should shorten last year’s growth by 1/3 and in autumn you should cut old and extended stems. Rejuvenating pruning is necessary for such shrubs once in 5 years or it is done at detection of many dried up branches. In order to do this, one third of the dried out branches should be cut back 3 years in a row. This will lead to a complete renewal of the shrub.

Diseases and pests

grow Cinquefoils

If you grow Cinquefoils, you need to know that this plant is highly resistant to various diseases and pests, which makes it much easier to care for.In rare cases, the cappuccino may suffer from spotting and rust. If one of these diseases affects a one-year-old Cinquefoils, you should not worry, because it will not have a strong impact on the appearance of the bush, and in autumn it will still have to be disposed of.

If you have a perennial, it is recommended to use fungicide for treatment (for example, colloidal sulfur or Bordeaux liquid). Owlet moths can also rarely settle on the bush. If you have a perennial, it is recommended to use fungicide for its treatment (for example, colloidal sulfur or Bordeaux liquid). Shovels can also rarely settle on the bush.In order to get rid of them, treat the affected specimen with an insecticide.

Autumn care

If you grow Cinquefoils, you need to know that in the autumn, the annual Cinquefoils should be removed from the area after its appearance becomes unattractive, and the area should be rebuilt with fertilizer. When Cinquefoils bush finishes blooming, you should shorten all the shoots by 1/3. To prevent disease, treat bushes with Bordeaux fluid.

Winter care

grow Cinquefoils winter

If you grow Cinquefoils, you need to know that a perennial Cinquefoils does not need shelter for the winter because it is highly frost resistant and it does not matter whether it is a herbaceous plant or shrub. Young saplings planted in autumn and rooted cuttings need shelter.