Lady’s Mantle is an attractive herbaceous perennial plant that belongs to the family of Rose called Rosaceae. It is one of the best plants to add a cottage-style charm to your gardens and other such aesthetically pleasant outdoor spaces.
The plant produces long-lived perennial flowers that blend effortlessly with other flowers and blooms of the spring season. It is highly characterized by its mixture of green, gray and blue foliage that offers the most striking and attractive combination against its small, chartreuse-colored flowers.
The foliage of this plant looks incredibly throughout the whole season which is one of the reasons why most people use lady’s mantle plant as a ground cover for small trees. Some of the most common habitat areas for this plant include roadsides, yards, parks, broad-leaved forests, springs, banks, shores, grazing lands, and meadows.
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Key Features of Lady’s Mantle Plant
Scientifically known as Alchemilla mollis, the Lady’s Mantle plant grows to an average height of 1 to 2 feet in both height and width. It prefers the full sun or sometimes partial shade to reach its maximum height. In terms of the soil type, it requires a range of chalky, loamy, sandy and clayey soils that have a pH between 5.5 and 7.5.
The blooming period for lady’s mantle typically begins in June and ends in September during which it produces an abundance of beautiful grey and blue foliage coupled with small, stunning yellow and lime-colored flowers. The plant is native to Southern Europe, but some of its species can also be found in subarctic regions of Asia, as well as mountains of the Americas and Africa.
The leaves of lady’s mantle plant are often basal rosette shaped with a round, kidney-shaped blade and shallow lobes. The stem is generally limp, ascending and hairy, and produces small stem leaves. These leaves are also often described as ‘handsome, gingerbread-like’ that offers great ornamental value. They are most notable for their ability to collect raindrops and water droplets that glisten and glitter like jewels on the base of the leaves.
A very fascinating and intriguing aspect of this plant is that it pumps water from the earth’s surface that seeps out through the tiny water-holes located in the teeth of the leaves. Interestingly, the alchemists from the Middle Ages used to believe that this particular liquid could actually be the Quinta essentia, which is a much sought-after liquid, ‘the fifth element’ or better known as the ultimate water of life. The water was believed to be a possible cure for the sickness that would give eternal youth to the person drinking it.
Growing and Caring for Lady’s Mantle
Lady’s Mantle is one of those plants that every gardener should grow and every person should have it in their garden. One of the main reasons for that is this plant is fairly easier to grow as compared to numerous other plant species.
When growing Lady’s Mantle, the first thing to keep in mind is that it grows best in those regions where there are cool and pleasant summers as well as fertile and moist well-drained soils. Soil and weather are two key components that influence any plant’s successful growth so it is essential that this plant is provided with essential growing conditions.
In terms of light, lady’s mantle is easily grown in full sun to part shade; however, a super scorching sun can be a problem and can be a concern in full sun. It is incredibly drought-tolerant and isn’t particularly fond of wet soil, but does require regular watering when there is full sun or high heat. This is vital in order to prevent the leaves from turning into a murky brown color.
Another very important thing to bear in mind when caring for lady’s mantle plant is that it is quite prone to reseeding that can cause it to become mildly aggressive in certain areas. To prevent that from happening, deadheading the flowers as soon as they begin to dry is always suggested since it stops them from spreading to those areas of the garden where they are not wanted.
Although the flowers and foliage of this plant are long-lived and they remain intact even during the winter season, it is best to remove the old and worn-out leaves when they begin to turn brown.
Incredible Benefits of Lady’s Mantle
Although Lady’s Mantle has always been notable for its ornamental and decorative value, it has also been used in the medieval times for its amazing medicinal properties. The rainwater collected on the base of the leaves apparently had magical powers, as believed by the people of those times.
Interestingly, this plant is still used as a beneficial herb for curing a number of different ailments. However, what most people are not aware of is the fact that lady’s mantle also consists of a number of benefits for skin and hair, and can actually be used for long, voluminous hair and youthful-looking skin.
Promises Healthy Scalp
Lady’s mantle can be used as an excellent health tonic because it contains an abundance of beneficial antioxidants. These antioxidants help rid your scalp from free radicals and in doing so, your scalp and hair follicles are able to produce healthy hair cells.
All those looking for the ultimate ‘fountain of youth’ can stop their quest for it because the lady’s mantle plant has an impressive ability to fight the obvious signs of aging. The same antioxidants present in this herb that promotes healthy hair also fight the free radicals in your skin in order to boost skin elasticity and prevent it from aging.
Fights Skin Infections
The plant has long been used for fighting skin infections such as insect bites, rashes, eczema, and stings. The best way to use it on the skin is to create a poultice of the herb and apply on all the affected areas.
Types of Lady’s Mantle Plants
While at one point Lady’s Mantle was considered to be a single species, it is actually a collection of numerous micro-species. These micro-species are the various types or cultivars of this plant and each has distinctive features, characteristics, and uses.
Take a look at some of the most common types of Lady’s mantle that are found growing in most gardens, banks, and borders.
Common Lady’s Mantle
Scientifically known as Alchemilla Vulgaris, the Common Lady’s Mantle is a very diverse group of plant species that is native to Europe and Greenland. It is an herbaceous perennial plant with perennial wildflowers that are popularly grown for their leaves in most gardens and other outdoor green spaces. You are likely to see Common Lady’s Mantle growing on mountain slopes, lightly fertilized grasslands, on roadside banks as well as verges.
The Common Lady’s Mantle plant is widespread in Europe from the Mediterranean to Iceland, and also throughout the northern hemisphere. The plant grows to an average height of 30cm to 50cm and produces basal leaves that are highly characterized by their folded and rounded blades. The leaves further consist of around 7-9 semicircular flaps which are what gives the plant its unique shape.
The distinctive name of this plant stems from the fact that it was once used gynecology and also that the semicircular flaps on the leaves sport great similarity to the cape worn by Mary in holy images from back in the days.
This plant is known for its styptic and astringent properties considering the amount of tannin it contains. According to old herbalists, the common lady’s mantle was one of the best herbs for wounds and injuries.
Alpine Lady’s Mantle
This is also known as Alchemillaalpine and is considered to be a smaller and more refined version of the standard Lady’s Mantle plant. It is an arctic-montane herbaceous perennial plant that has been used as an effective herbal remedy by many people since centuries. This plant is native to Southern Greenland and Europe.
The Alpine Lady’s Mantle plant is described as a perennial plant that grows to an average height of 6-8 inches and spreads about 8-12 inches wide. It is best suited for growing in rock gardens since it is quite a low-forming plant with mounds of hairy leaves that sport a prominent silvery marking.
Unlike the pleated types of leaves produced by other mantle plants, the ones in the Alpine Lady’s mantle are quite different given how the blade of the leaves is divided into leaflets. It also produces small, yellow flowers that are petal-less, but they are also often a beautiful lime-green color.
The natural habitat of this plant ranges from alpine meadows, stream banks and cliffs to moorlands and those areas or regions that are covered with piles of snow during the winter season. It requires full sun or partially shaded conditions to grow to its maximum height and prefers normal, sandy or clayey soils for efficient growth. The blooming period for this plant begins sometime in the early or mid-summer season during which it produces stunning deep-green and silver foliage.
Alpine Lady’s Mantle is most popularly grown in woodlands, on alpines and rocks, in containers and also for garden borders and edgings.
Robusta Lady’s Mantle
This variety of Lady’s mantle plant is largely characterized by its gorgeous frothy and abundant sprays of chartreuse flowers that form the perfect arrangement for fully shaded and partially shaded gardens. Robusta Lady’s Mantle is an upright perennial plant that produces leaves that are quite larger in size as compared to its other relatives in this species.
It grows exactly two feet tall in height and also spreads by the same number in width. Its flowering period begins in late spring or early summer and interestingly, this variety often blooms twice in a year. During this time, it bears loose sprays of tiny, beautiful yellow flowers that offer a striking contrast against the greenish-silver foliage.
This plant grows best in heavy clay soils and once fully grown, they become amazingly drought-resistant. Much of the popularity of this species comes from the fact that it produces soft, rounded and velvety foliage that holds raindrops on its leaves for several hours. These raindrops look like sparkling jewels that create quite a breathtaking sight.
Robusta Lady’s Mantle is commonly used as a groundcover and also as cut flowers because it provides an abundance of such flowers that are also known to dry very well.
Garden Lady’s Mantle
This herbaceous perennial plant is native to southern Europe, but is popular all around the world and is commonly grown as a stunning ornamental garden plant. It is particularly loved by most people for the beautiful texture of its foliage which is why it is an ideal garden plant.
Garden Lady’s Mantle’s foliage is largely known for its mounds of rounded olive-green leaves that have a soft, velvety texture. Like other Lady’s Mantle Species, this one also catches and holds water droplets in its leaves that sparkle like jewels under the radiant sunshine.
The flowering period for this plant begins in late spring and ends in early summer. It grows to an average height of 12-18 inches tall and spreads between 18-24 inches wide. It is one of the most popular bestsellers that are found in most gardens since they provide such a lovely finish to a path edge or a border in a garden. What further adds to its beauty is that it blends so effortlessly and beautifully with other garden perennials and looks even more breathtaking.
The plant performs best under full sun or even partially shaded conditions and prefers well-drained soils with average or medium moisture content. The best way to ensure that this plant grows as successfully and beautifully as it is supposed, you should shear them once the blooming period ends. Doing this will help rejuvenate the leaves and will also tidy up the clumps for the remainder of the season.
The leafy mounds of this plant and clusters star-shaped, yellow-greenish delicate flowers greatly attract the butterflies and bees in a garden, however, it is highly rabbit and deer resistant. One important thing to keep in mind when growing the Garden Lady’s Mantle plant is that it has the tendency to self-seed in any garden. This can cause it to become a little invasive. In order to prevent that from happening, prompt removal of flower stems is essential after the flowering period.
Hairy Lady’s Mantle
This variety of Lady Mantle’s plant is distributed across North America as well as some regions of Europe. It is commonly found in habitats such as hill-slopes, roadside verges, mountain flushes, banks, rough pastures as well as woodland borders and rides. You can also expect to find the plant in short grassland and stony places.
As the name suggests, the leaves of the Hairy Lady’s Mantle plant consist of dense hairs that provide it with a hydrophobic surface. The plant is tufted with an abundance of basal leaves that grow in a variety of different forms such as toothed, palmately lobed or palmate. Its flowers small and boast a stunning yellow-green color that doesn’t contain any petals. Since there are many similar species within the same genus, it can often be really hard to identify this particular plant.
The flowering period for Hairy Lady’s Mantle begins sometime during June and lasts all the way till September. Among all other Alchemilla varieties, this one is most widespread in Britain, but it is still not very common there.
A highly fascinating feature of this lady’s mantle plant is its fuzzy leaves that allow water droplets to create a perfect spherical shape. As a result of this, the water droplets are able to roll off the external surface of the leaves easily because of being lifted by coming into contact with the hairs on the surface of the leaves.
Irish Silk Lady’s Mantle
The Irish Silk Lady’s Mantle is considered to an improved version of the common Lady’s mantle because it has much larger and longer stems, its flowers are more uniform and it also makes an excellent fresh cut flower.
This Lady’s mantle variety produces beautiful chartreuse-colored leaves coupled with yellowish flowers, together which create an exceptionally eye-catching and a striking effect. This makes it one of the most perfect plant options for any perennial garden or even a mixed bouquet of flowers.
Irish Silk Lady’s mantle grows to an average height of 20 cm and spreads about 45 cm wide. It is fairly easier to grow, as compared to the other lady’s mantle flowers and also grows well in all types of soil. It is a hardy perennial that is especially renowned for catching droplets that look like eye-catching pearls on the large, pale green leaves. The sprays of yellow-green flowers greatly attract large groups of bees and butterflies which are also why it is an ideal type of plant to grow in a perennial garden.
Thriller Lady’s Mantle
This is a much larger variety of Lady’s mantle, as compared to the other species, and is widely celebrated for its spectacular scalloped foliage coupled with its beautiful delicate yellow flowers that offer a magnificent contrast against the plush greenery.
The Thriller Lady’s mantle is known for its incredible cold-hardiness that makes it quite a tough and sturdy type of plant. Not just that, but it also a great ability to thrive in poor-quality soils which means that it is tolerant towards all types of soils. You can expect this plant to survive a brutally cold winter season without wearing down and even reach its full, maximum height and size even when growing in heavy-clay type of soil.
One of the best characteristics of Thriller Lady’s mantle is that once it is fully established, it can easily grow in dry soil under partially shaded and sunny conditions. It is a hardy, herbaceous perennial that grows to an average height of 2 feet and also spreads 2 feet wide.
The blooming period for this plant begins in June, which is when it produces gorgeous chartreuse flowers that are small yet so abundant. On the downside though, it has a tendency to self-seed that makes it a little invasive even when provided with optimum growing conditions. In order to prevent self-seeding, it is essential to promptly remove spent flower stems. Doing this might also encourage a reblooming period in the late summer season.
Since it is a fairly large plant and has great ornamental value, it is one of the best planting options for gardens, and they also work really well as vase fillers.
Auslese Lady’s Mantle
Best known for its lime green upright flowers, the Auslese lady’s mantle plant is an herbaceous perennial that grows about 12-16 inches tall and spreads 20 inches wide. It is highly characterized by its bluish-green foliage combined with chartreuse flowers that provide quite a stunning display.
This plant requires full sun to grow and can also thrive well in partially shaded conditions. It grows best in well-drained soils that have an adequate amount of moisture in them. The blooming period of this plant begins in May and ends in July, during which you can expect to see mounds of olive green foliage displaying clusters of gorgeous yellow flowers.
The Auslese lady’s mantle isn’t just pretty and aesthetically pleasant plant, it is also very useful and tough. The lush green-gray foliage of the plant is able to enhance the foreground of any perennial garden on its own and it is considered to be bigger than those produced by other varieties. When growing this plant, it is essential to keep in mind that it prefers cool, moist soil, so it is best to plant it in a woodland setting where there is a high canopy.
One of the most distinctive features of the Auslese Lady’s Mantle is its rounded foliage on which water creates tiny little droplets that look like drops of mercury. This paints quite a pretty picture and looks simply beautiful wherever it is planted.
Lady’s Mantle is truly a must-have plant in your garden not just for its splendid beauty, but also its remarkable health benefits!