Also known as scarlet avens, double bloody Mary, and Grecian rose, this evergreen to semi-evergreen herbaceous perennial is native to central Chile. It is a member of the rose family, Rosaceae, that also includes apple, almond and lady’s mantle. Growing from thick rhizomes, plants produce a rosette of hairy, pinnately divided, coarsely toothed leaves 6-12” long with the terminal leaflet up to twice the length as the laterals. The single or double scarlet flowers are 1-1.5” wide and are carried in loose panicles on wiry stalks well above the foliage in late spring and early summer. Flowers give way to fluffy seedheads. Plants do not tolerate high temperatures or humidity, or dryness in winter and are short lived even under good conditions. Many cultivars are available that vary most significantly in color and number of petals, from single to double. ‘Mrs. Bradshaw is in old cultivar with semidouble scarlet flowers.

Type: Herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Loose panicles of red flowers 1-1.5” wide in late spring and early summer

Size: 1-2’ H x 1-2’ W

Light: Full sun to light shade with some afternoon shade in hot climates

Soil: Humus rich, evenly moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 4-7

Care: Deadhead to prolong bloom time; cut back after flowering; divide often to increase longevity.

Pests and Diseases: None of significance but plants are short lived.

Propagation: Fresh seed, division

Companion Plants: Purple leaved coral bells (Heuchera), catmint (Nepeta), blue speedwell (Veronica teucrium)

 Outstanding Selections:

‘Fire Opal’ (semidouble, deep red )

‘Lady Statherden’ (semidouble bright yellow)

‘Mrs. Bradshaw’ (semidouble scarlet)

‘Red Wings’ (semidouble,orange-red)

By Karen