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Herbaceous Perennial

Cardamine pratensis
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

cuckoo flower

A native perennial to 45cm tall, forming a basal rosette of grey-green to glossy dark green pinnate leaves to 15cm long with rounded leaflets, and erect leafy stems bearing short open racemes of 4-petalled, pale pink or white flowers 1.5cm across in late spring

Other common names
bread and milk
cuckoo buds
see morecuckoo spit
lady's smock
meadow bittercress
meadow cress
spinks
spring cress
cuckoo bread
lady's flower
mayflower

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Size
Ultimate height
0.1–0.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0.1–0.5 metres
Growing conditions
Clay
Loam
Moisture
Moist but well–drained, Poorly–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Pink White Green
Summer Green
Autumn Green
Winter
Position
  • Full shade
  • Partial shade
Aspect

West–facing or North–facing or East–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H7
Botanical details
Family
Brassicaceae
Native to the UK
Yes
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Clump forming
Genus

Cardamine are herbaceous perennials with simple, palmately or pinnately divided leaves and short racemes of 4-petalled white, yellow, pink or purplish flowers in spring or summer

Name status

Correct

Plant range
Europe

How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in humus-rich, moist soil in full or part shade

Propagation

Propagate by seed or division

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Rock garden
  • Wildflower meadow
  • Wildlife gardens
  • Flower borders and beds
Pruning

No pruning required

Pests

May be susceptible to aphids and flea beetles

Diseases

Generally disease-free

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