Lady’s Mantle


Salix 'Hakuru Nishiki' and AlchemillaLady’s Mantle is one of the most common perennials in Nantucket gardens for good reason.  These charming plants are incredibly reliable, rabbit and deer resistant and have loads of flower power over a long period.  They look spectacular in early summer when the plant is covered in chartreuse-yellow flowers.  The tiny star-shaped  airy flowers look just as well in a cut flower arrangement as in the garden.  When not in flower, the fuzzy
foliage is also lovely.  In the morning, the leaves are covered in drops of dew that sparkle in the sun.

These plants blend equally well with sun and shade combinations.   Plant them as a low edging along a shady path with ferns as a background or in the front of the perennial border with catmint or small grasses.  Alchemilla likes a spot with average soil and even moisture.  In my experience, the foliage holds up the best in plantings that have some afternoon shade.

Maintenance is easy.  Once the flowers have begun to turn brown, remove them.  There are a few ways to do it;either shear back the entire plant, allowing the basal foliage to grow and fill back in, or cut or pull the stalks away from the base  of the plant.  While dormant, cut back the foliage to the ground.

Some of the most common species and cultivars are listed below:

  • Alchemilla mollis:  The most common species of Lady’s Mantle.  Leaves are 6″ wide.  Flowers tend to fall toward the outside of the plant when in full bloom, forming a mantle or skirt – hence it’s common name.  18″ tall to 24″ wide.
  • Alchemilla mollis ‘Thriller’:  Slightly larger than the species, possibly with even more flowers. 18-24″ tall and wide.
  • Alchemilla mollis ‘Auslese’ aka ‘Select’ and ‘Robustica’:  A dwarf form.  Compact plants hold flowers in a more upright fashion than other Alchemilla mollis cultivars. 12″ tall and 18″ wide.
  • Alchemilla sericata ‘Gold Strike’:  A compact species, 14″ tall.  Medium-sized, deeply scalloped leaves.  Flowers tend to stay upright.
  • Alchemilla erythropoda:  The smallest species of Alchemilla that is readily available.  Perfect for a tiny garden.  6-8″ tall.