Eranthises or winter aconites are a joy to witness in late winter and early spring with their buttercup-shaped flowers and collars of attractive filigree leaves beautifully carpeting the garden floor. Try mixing with other woodland bulbs such as erythroniums, trilliums, snowdrops and wood anemones. They are a great source of early nectar for hungry pollinating insects.
Their small, raisin-like tubers can be pre-soaked in tepid water for 3 to 4 hours before being carefully dried and planted 7 to 10 cm deep and approximately 5 cm apart in fertile, humus-rich soil in full sun to dappled shade. Eranthises do not like dry conditions — especially in the summer garden — and if the tubers dry out, they will be difficult to re-establish. Therefore, provide a steady water supply — but do not soak them! — and feed every couple of weeks with high potash feed. If you garden organically, liquid seaweed is ideal as it is organic and comes from a sustainable source. In late summer, provide a mulch of organic matter.
Eranthis hyemalis are best transplanted after flowering. Leave foliage in place and allow for it to die back naturally before lifting and dividing as needed.
Always unpack and plant on arrival. Take care! Eranthises can cause skin irritation. Always wear gloves when handling and planting. Care should also be taken with children as the ingestion of any parts can cause stomach upset.
Potential problems, pests and diseases:
Generally disease free, winter aconites can be affected by smut. Their stems will split, open and will produce sooty like spores. Infected plants should be lifted and destroyed.