Dictionary of Flowers: Alchemilla
(Lady's Mantle)

Delicate yellow Alchemilla (Lady's Mantle). Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of VTGard and Flickr
Pin It

Delicate yellow Alchemilla (Lady's Mantle). Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of VTGard and Flickr

  • Alchemilla 
  • Common name: lady's mantle
  • Family: Rosaceae
  • Category: Perennial in USDA zones 4-7
  • Height: 24" to 30"
  • Width: 30"
  • Sun/part shade
  • Blooms: early summer to early frost
  • Attracts: butterflies
  • Growth habit: mounding, clumping. Used as a filler in container combinations
  • Maintenance: easy
  • Soil: average, moist, well drained, neutral to slightly acidic. Water regularly if grown in containers. Once established, it's tolerant of drier conditions.
  • Garden uses: borders, beds, containers
  • Diseases: mildew
  • Pests: aphids

Lady's Mantle is an old fashioned perennial with delicate chartreuse green sprays of flowers and light green leaves that look pleated.

The flowers tend to lean because of their own weight. The leaves are pleated, slightly fuzzy. It works well on the edge of a border, to soften it and it's perfect in a cottage garden plan. It can also be grown in containers.

It's a great plant for dry shade, but it requires regular watering during the first season, so as to allow it to develop a good root system. It also requires more frequent watering if grown in full sun and during hot summer days.

Deadhead to basal growth and shear to remove tatty looking foliage in summer after the plant has finished blooming. If the plant still looks fairly good, simply remove brown leaves. Don't cut back in fall, as plants do better next season.

Clean up dead leaves in spring, but don't cut too close to the crown. Alchemilla doesn't need to be divided very often.

Colorful bugs will be attracted to Lady's Mantle. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of [duncan] and Flickr
Pin It

Colorful bugs will be attracted to Lady's Mantle. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of [duncan] and Flickr

It can be grown from seed. It germinates in seven to ten days. Sprinkle seeds into moist starting mix, cover with an 1/8 inch of soil and keep between 60-70°F.

If germination doesn't happen after a month, place container in the refrigerator inside a plastic bag, and keep it cold for four weeks, then return to warm temperature.

Plants grown from seed can take two years to bloom. Harden off for a week and plant in desired spot after danger of frost has passed.

Lady's Mantle self seeds in the garden if not deadheaded. It can also be wintersown.

Dreamy Lady's Mantle. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of Takashi .M and Flickr
Pin It

Dreamy Lady's Mantle. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of Takashi .M and Flickr


Popular varieties:

  • Alchemilla alpina – a good choice for containers, since it is smaller than alchemilla mollis
  • Alchemilla mollis ‘Robusta’ 
  • Alchemilla mollis ‘Thriller’ – a prolific bloomer
  • Alchemilla mollis ‘Auslese’ – this cultivar offers a more upright growth habit
Alchemilla flowers can be heavy, so stems may droop under their weight. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of Kate ter Haar and Flickr
Pin It

Alchemilla flowers can be heavy, so stems may droop under their weight. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of Kate ter Haar and Flickr

Buy Yours

Full List of Dictionary of Flowers Entries

Annuals For Containers

Perennials For Containers

Go from Alchemilla Mollis (Lady's Mantle) to the Dictionary of Flowers

More great ideas for Container Gardening!

Leave Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.