Dwarf yellow cinquefoil is an alpine wild shrub that grows and thrives, in a suitable location, in a completely uncomplicated manner. Its yellow flowers enliven stone and gravel gardens.
Profile of dwarf yellow cinquefoil:
Scientific name: Potentilla aurea
Plant family: rose family (Rosaceae)
Other names: –
Planting time: spring to autumn
Flowering period: May to July
Soil quality: loamy, moderately nutritious, humus rich, sensitive to lime
These information are for temperate climate!
Use in: flower beds, planters, borders, flower garden, natural garden, rock garden, potted garden
Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 5 (-26 °C / -15 °F)
Bee and insect friendly: Yes
Plant characteristics and classification of dwarf yellow cinquefoil
Plant order, origin and occurrence of dwarf yellow cinquefoil
Dwarf yellow cinquefoil (Potentilla aurea) prefers to grow on alpine meadows and pastures at altitudes between 1,300 and 3,200 meters (4,265 to 10,500 ft). The tiny shrub belonging to the rose family (Rosaceae) can be found in mountain ranges from Europe to Asia Minor.
It is an old medicinal plant that was used in folk medicine as a tea against diarrheal diseases, as a rinse for inflammation in the mouth and throat and externally for poorly healing wounds.
Characteristics of dwarf yellow cinquefoil
From a branching rhizome the plant sprouts 5 to 15 centimeters (2 to 6 in) long archrd rising shoots. They develop into dense, flat pads that can be up to 25 centimeters (10 in) wide.
Potentilla aurea has the five-fold fingered basal leaves typical of cinquefoil. Its top is matt glossy, the edges are hairy silky. The upper stem leaves have a lanceolate shape.
Between May and July, the plant forms its golden yellow, wide-open flowers that reach about 2 centimeters (0.8 in) in diameter. Its five petals are inverted-heart-shaped and have an orange mark at the base. Pollination occurs mostly by flies.
The fruits are solitary nuts that are naturally spread through cattle droppings.
Dwarf yellow cinquefoil – cultivation and care
The dwarf yellow cinquefoil appreciates a sun-exposed place in the garden.
As on the natural site, the soil should be lime-free and fresh. Humous, lean clay soil is well suited.
Pre-cultivated young plants can be planted practically all season long. A planting distance of 25 centimeters (10 in) is recommended, with extensive use one reckons with 16 specimens per square meter (10 sq. ft.).
Care / Watering / Fertilization
Potentilla aurea appreciates fresh soil, especially in spring. If necessary, one should water thoroughly. Otherwise, the wild shrub thrives without any further action. One can add a little fertilizer, like compost (or a swill made of compost), once every two years.
In spring, you can get cuttings and let them take root or you can take the rhizome in early spring or in autumn and divide it. You can also try to propagate by using seeds or simply let the plant seed itself and then replant the new plantlets.
Diseases and pests
At the right location, the flower is spared from pests and plant diseases.
The dwarf yellow cinquefoil is hardy down to -26 °C / -15 °F. No special winter measures must be taken.
Use in the garden
With its natural charm, dwarf yellow cinquefoil is a good choice for rock gardens or gravel and steppe plantings with fresh soil, where it is planted in the foreground because of its low height. Potentilla aurea is also ideal for planting trays, buckets and balcony boxes.