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Herbaceous Perennial

Epilobium hirsutum

great willowherb

A very strong-growing herbaceous perennial, spread by rhizomes making dense mats of roots. Stems up to 2m in height are clothed in dark green, hairy, narrow lance-shaped leaves. Mid-pink flowers are borne in summer and are particularly attractive to hoverfiles and other pollinators

Other common names
apple pie
cherry pie
see morecodlins and cream
custard cups
fiddle grass
gooseberry pie
great hairy willowherb
Size
Ultimate height
1.5–2.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
1–1.5 metres
Growing conditions
Sand
Loam
Clay
Chalk
Moisture
Poorly–drained, Moist but well–drained
pH
Neutral, Alkaline, Acid
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green
Summer Pink Green
Autumn Green
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
Aspect

West–facing or South–facing or North–facing or East–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H7
Botanical details
Family
Onagraceae
Native to the UK
Yes
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Suckering, Clump forming
Genus

Epilobium can be annuals or perennials, sometimes invasive, with erect stems bearing willowy leaves and showy, 4-petalled flowers in terminal racemes

Name status

Correct

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How to grow

Cultivation

Ideal for damp wild areas such as streamsides or marshy ground where the roots can spread freely. Excellent plant for attracting pollinating species. Will also grow in well-drained soil. Needs full sun to grow best

Propagation

Propagate by division in autumn or spring, by seed as soon as ripe or in spring

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Wildlife gardens
  • Wildflower meadow
  • Prairie planting
Pruning

Cut back at the end of the year, when foliage dies back

Pests

May be susceptible to slugs and snails

Diseases

May be susceptible to rust diseases and powdery mildews

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