arhs Yachts International
arhs Yachts International

Pulsatilla vulgaris

By Roslyn Duffus

Pulsatilla vulgaris or pasque flower is a plant that is well worth having in the garden. Originating in Europe, it is quite easy in this part of the world. Flowering takes place in May and is extended over a few weeks. This is followed by a period of time when the fluffy seedheads make quite a nice show themselves. The flowers are generally a lovely amethyst shade of purple and are covered with downy hairs and the foliage is finely dissected. There are hybrids of white or reddish tones. There are also hybrids with more deeply cut foliage and flowers with more petals than the species. The plant in flower will not be much over 14 inches high and stays as a neat clump.

I have found the plants to be very long lived in the garden placed in full sun and in fertile but very well drained soil. I cut back the dead foliage in the spring and top dress with a little compost. These plants do not like to be moved when mature so it is best to start with small plants and leave undisturbed. I have had selfseeding from my original plants and, because they are a little slow to grow in their first couple of years, have often only found them in the lawn when they came into flower as still quite small plants. This can be avoided if you deadhead before the seedheads ripen.

There is a pulsatilla native to North America. Pulsatilla patens is, I believe, known as the prairie crocus in Manitoba. Some of the other species are a little more demanding and a bit more of a challenge to grow; however, P. vulgaris should do well for everybody.