Potentilla in bloom

I added an unfamiliar perennial flowering plant  to the corner garden last year on a hunch.  The picture on the id tag of the bloom was unique and the foliage was attractive, so I figured if I could keep it alive it would provide at least some interest in the garden.  The foliage is very reminiscent of a strawberry plant, so much so that it carries several common names referring to strawberry plants (Mock Strawberry, Indian Strawberry, etc.).  The other common name associated with this genus is Cinquefoil, which I’m guessing wasn’t chosen for it’s pronouncability.  Potentilla is much easier to say.

Creeping Potentilla
My Potentilla has spread over a large area of about 5 feet and has very little foliage at the center of the plant (the couple of star-shaped leaves in the center of the picture).

The plant grew pretty well last year, but didn’t flower.  This year, it was one of the first plants to start leafing out in the spring and starting growing quite large.  By the time it reached 2 or 3 feet in width, it was getting lanky, but also producing buds.  These buds started opening over the last couple of weeks and I really like the flowers a lot.

A number of Potentilla blooms open at the ends of the lanky stems
A number of Potentilla blooms open at the ends of the lanky stems

I wish the plant wasn’t so lanky, but the blooms are definitely unique – in color and form.

Potentilla bloom
Potentilla bloom

My specific plant is Potentilla nepalensis ‘Miss Wilmott’.  Other Potentillas have yellow, white or light pink blooms.  I really like the color of the blooms on my plant, and I can say without hesitation that the color is new to the corner garden.  From my limited searching, there are probably about 500 species in this genus – some suitable for a garden and others looking rather weedy.