Plant of the Week: Pasque Flower

This week, we at Rohsler’s would like to highlight a very special and underused perennial for the spring garden, Pulsatilla vulgaris, or Pasque Flower. Native to grassland meadows throughout Europe and Asia it begins growing early in the spring, at times when the snow is still melting out, its new buds rising even as nighttime temps barely reach above freezing. 

Hailing from the Ranunculaceae plant family, they share a relation to Clematis, Helleborus, and Anemone. This relation makes them slow to establish but extremely durable and long-lived, and somewhat deer resistant. Flowers begin to open around the beginning of April, followed by a second flush of flowers around two weeks later, extending the bloom time considerably, for over a month. As the flowers fade they shed their petals to unveil a wonderfully wispy seedhead reminiscent of many Clematis that persists for months. It’s a unique feature, adding multiple dimensions to the garden, capturing motion and light, as the seedheads sway in the wind and refract rays of sun through their tendrils.

The foliage is also ornamental and silky in texture, which combines well with many plants. The early bloom time also makes an excellent combination for spring bulbs and an excellent nectar source for early season pollinators. At maturity expect plants to reach 12 to 18 inches tall and wide. Sharp soil with good drainage in full sun to light shade is also preferred. If planting in full sun, plant near other plants that will grow taller later in the season, their foliage providing some filtered shade. Shorter cespitose grasses make a great companion plant. Through selection and breeding flower colors range from purple, blue, pink, red, and white with yellow centers. This season, because of limited availability, we are offering Pasque flower in purple, which is also the strongest and most reliable of the colors. Numbers are limited so come in and check them out before you miss them!

Rohsler’s Grown Pasque Flowers are grown locally and naturally at our nursery.