Lady's mantle is a favorite perennial for the cutting garden because of its silky, light green leaves (that look magical on dewy mornings) and heads of greenish-yellow early summertime flowers. These flowers tend to work particularly well as cut flowers (and can be dried for use in dried flower crafts). The plants form a low, tidy mound and work well in ground cover situations.
- Common name: Lady's mantle
- Botanical name: Alchemilla spp.
- Zones: 3 to 8, depending on species
- Height: To 2 feet tall
- From: Areas of Europe, Asia, and Africa
- Family: Rosaceae (rose family)
- Sun: Full sun or part shade. Partial shade is preferable in hot summer areas.
- Soil: Moist, but well-drained soil rich in organic matter.
- Moisture: Water during times of drought.
- Mulch: A layer of mulch over the soil helps conserve moisture and reduces competition from weeds.
- Pruning: Cut the plants back after they freeze in autumn or in spring before they begin to grow.
- Fertilizer: Fertilizer is generally not necessary in soils rich in organic
- Division: Divide lady's mantle in spring or autumn.
- Seeds: Start seeds in early spring. It is also possible to dig out self-sown seedlings near the mother plants and transplant them elsewhere.
- Slugs/Snails: Slugs and snails tend to eat at night, chewing up leaves. To deter them, try surrounding plants with a ring of horticultural grade diatomaceous earth. Some people have found success with laying copper strips around plants, but this does not seem to work for everyone. If slugs are not particularly numerous, set out shallow containers of stale beer at ground level. Slugs, attracted to the beer, crawl into it and drown.
- If the leaves turn brown midseason, cut the plants back in summer and water freely; the plants will respond by growing new, fresh foliage.
- The plants, if not deadheaded, can self-sow freely, though rarely to the point of becoming a pest.
- Alchemilla alpina: Grows to 6 inches with mounds of tiny light-green, somewhat fuzzy leaves. Small, chartreuse flowers. Zones 3 to 7.
- Alchemilla erythropoda: Grows 1 foot tall with mounds of light-green, somewhat fuzzy leaves. Clusters of small, chartreuse flowers. Zones 3 to 7.
- Alchemilla mollis: Grows to 2 feet with mounds of light green, somewhat fuzzy leaves. Small, chartreuse flowers. Zones 4 to 7.