Zone: 3 to 9
Soil: Sand to loam
Light:part sun to shade
Bloom colour: white to purple
Bloom period: early to mid-spring
Height: 3 - 6 inches
Moisture: moist in spring
Attracts: Bees, syrphid flies
Notes: Sharp-leaved Hepatica is native to Eastern half of Canada and the United states. It can be found in woodlands and along the woodland edge. It flowers for a few weeks in the middle of spring and is one of the first plants to emerge. As such it is an important plant for early season bees. This plant is good for the front of a shady border where it should be planted en masse to show off its beautiful flowers and to attract pollinators. Anything less than 9 - 11 specimens will go unnoticed. I would recommend at least 20 specimens to get a noticeable block of flowers.
This plant can also be grown in rock gardens, but the soil needs to be loamy and moist to keep the leaves in good condition. Sunnier locations must be matched with more moisture. It has thicker and waxier leaves that can remain in good condition for most of the year
This plant has interesting leaves and flowers that are quite large given that the plant only grows 6 inches high. Considering this, one has to wonder why Hepatica is not planted more often in suburban gardens. It is just as good as any box store bulb plant. Be careful to buy the native plant as the similar Eurasian species is also sold in nurseries.
You will notice in the picture that the new flowers open up before the leaves. This strategy allows plants to take advantage of early pollinators without too much competion.