Cheerful repeat blooms, fine-textured foliage and a low-growing fluffy form, the pretty Potentilla bush (Potentilla fruticosa), also known as Bush Cinquefoils, are native to the Northern Hemisphere and are deciduous flowering ornamental plants! Well-known for their copious saucer-shaped yellow, pink, orange, or white flowers over a long blooming period.
The name Cinquefoil is derived from the French cinq meaning five and feuille meaning leaf, for the plant’s five-petaled flowers. The Potentilla moniker originates in the Latin potens for powerful, referring to the early medicinal use of Potentilla to ease stomach aches. This bush is sometimes called a Five-Finger and has a remarkable resemblance to strawberry blooms without the fruit.
Kids love these flowers because the five petals form a curious star in the center of each blossom!
The long bloom period and short plant stature allow for a look that is unique, featuring low mounds of blue-green pinnate leaves and lush, compact blooms. The fluffy, well-branched shrubs are filled with foliage that is so fine-textured, it’s almost fern-like!
The Potentilla is a very hardy plant that can thrive in USDA planting zone 2 winter temperatures. There are many darling Potentilla Shrubs available at Nature Hills! We’re certain you’ll find one to add that finishing touch to your landscape! They love full sun, but can grow in partial shade with a bit fewer flowers - but still very showy. Long blooming, you’ll enjoy wave after wave of bloom, sometimes spring, summer, and into the fall growing season! Some even have wonderful orange, yellow, and red shades in the fall.
The best part, you’ll love how big Potentilla bushes get! Or rather, how small they stay! Usually no more than 2-3 feet tall, these little powerhouses only spread to a maximum of 3-4 feet in width!
What does Potentilla look like in the fall and winter? In some instances, these hardy little shrubs display a variety of fall colors. Sometimes in reds, yellows, oranges, and even purples and burgundy before their deciduous leaves drop. But that’s when you get to enjoy their exfoliating bark that can reveal reddish tones beneath the peeling layers!
Potentillas can have a few tiny brown seed capsules at the end of the growing season but they are not showy and do not cause a problem with self-seeding or spreading. Nor does the plant itself get into trouble by spreading or sending up suckers or runners! They’re polite little shrubs that stay put where you plant them!
The largest selection of sizes and forms come in the yellow-flowered Potentilla. Resembling golden Buttercups or tiny Wild Roses, these bright and cheerful little blooms make up for their size by their sheer number!
Shining white blooms with yellow centers, white-flowered Potentilla adds brightness and beauty to the garden border! Their happy faces shine in the Moon Garden!
Curious orange blooms that are vibrant and unexpected in such prolific little blooms! These juicy hues look right at home around the pool deck or patio sun chairs!
Packed with cheer and fresh color, pink Potentilla are happy-go-lucky little flowering shrubs! Tuck one in a Children's Garden or give someone the gift of easy-care joy!
Space-saving and adaptable, Potentilla is easy to grow and adapts to a wide range of soils and is attractive all season. Today’s Potentilla is grown for its ornamental value and landscape versatility in the full sun garden.
Dress them up or dress them down, Potentilla plants are fantastic when used as:
Potentillas are generally not favored by deer but do attract butterflies and are ideal to use in your Pollinator gardens! The golden centers have tons of pollen and nectar for bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects!
The flowers and especially the foliage look fantastic in floral bouquets and the fall foliage adds color to your bouquets and fall landscape. So include one or more in your Cut Flower garden for long sprays of fine-textured greenery!
Bush Cinquefoil are also ideal for xeric gardens and recommended for Firescaping! Proving just how absolutely versatile they are in the garden!
Where is the best place to plant Potentilla? The answer is about anywhere that isn’t soggy and in the shade!
Potentillas are durable plants and are almost entirely free of diseases and pests! They will tolerate drought and flooding, and they will easily survive transplanting. They even thrive in poor soil and are widely adaptable and carefree!
Wonderfully cold-hardy, deciduous Potentillas perform best when planted in a full sun area with late afternoon shade, which will help prevent color fade on the flowers. If you plant them where they get at least 6 hours of sun a day, you’ll enjoy far more blooms than one in shade. Plus, their form will be denser and bushier!
Plant Bush Cinquefoil in a well-drained enriched site with a 3-4 inch thick layer of arborist mulch chips over the surface to retain moisture and keep their roots cool. This also prevents soil from splashing onto their foliage, keeping them cleaner!
Provide regular moisture throughout their first year to ensure the root system is established, but after they are settled, Potentillas can be quite drought tolerant. Though you do want to supply supplemental moisture during the hottest parts of the growing season and in extended drought to keep them looking their best.
Should you cut back Potentilla?
As with any flowering shrub, timing your pruning is imperative, but Potentillas require only minimal pruning to keep them in any shape you desire. Early spring pruning before it starts to grow is best done by selectively cutting out the oldest and tallest stems down to the base, leaving the younger and thinner stems in place for best bloom production.
This method is best for not interrupting bloom and keeping the natural form of the plant. Cutting back the top down will delay flowering. Older shrubs can use a good renewal pruning by removing the fattest, oldest stems out to the ground.
Add some cheer to your garden with these prolifically flowering little dynamos! Potentillas are as cold-hardy, easy-care, and low maintenance as possible and the perfect finishing touch to your garden's design! There’s not more you can ask for when it comes to low-growing little plants with so much potential!
Thwart chill, snow, erosion, deer, drought, rabbits - the list goes on! Find your new favorite Potentilla for your landscape and reap the benefits of these bundles of joy from Nature Hills Nursery!