Initially a slow grower, Gillenia is a very long lived North American native that revels in dappled shade and woodland habitats.
Once established the plants form robust clumps that easily compete with tree roots provided there is a little moisture available. A thick organic mulch can work wonders with that.
This compact, rounded plant is topped in late spring with delicate five petalled white flowers held on mahogany coloured stems. In autumn the foliage turns a deep bronzy red punctuating the oranges and yellows of other fading foliage in the perennial border.
An added bonus is the attractive shape of the seed heads which persist into winter. Really interesting plants for shade don't come much better than this so it's odd that Gillenia is a strangely neglected plant that definitely deserves more widespread use.
Protect from slugs when young.
Photo: © Jelitto
Slightly acid, moist