Darmera peltata
Common Name: umbrella plant
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Saxifragaceae
Native Range: Northwestern California to southwestern Oregon
Zone: 5 to 7
Height: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Pink to white
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Heavy Shade, Erosion, Wet Soil

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium to wet soils in part shade to full shade. Can be grown in full sun as long as soils are kept consistently moist to wet. Leaf scorch will occur if soils are allowed to dry out. Prefers cool summer climates, and does not perform well in the hot and humid summers of the deep South.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Darmera peltata, commonly called umbrella plant, is thick-rhizomed perennial which typically grows 3-5' tall and is native to mountain stream banks and woodlands from southwestern Oregon to northern California. Features small pink to white flowers (to 1/2") in terminal, rounded clusters (corymbs) which appear atop thick hairy stems in early spring before the foliage. Large, rounded, medium green, toothed and lobed leaves (to 18" across) emerge after bloom to form a foliage mound which remains attractive throughout the growing season as long as consistent moisture is supplied. Leaves are peltate (as the species name suggests)... meaning that each leaf arises from the rhizome on a long petiole which attaches to the center of the leaf, thus creating a large leaf cup. Upward facing leaves typically collect and hold small pools of rain water. Formerly known as and sometimes still sold as Peltiphyllum peltatum.

Genus name honors Karl Darmer, 19th-century Berlin horticulturist.

Specific epithet refers to the peltate leaves.

The common name is in reference to either the umbrella-like flower clusters or the inside-out-umbrella-like appearance of the leaves or both.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Leaf scorch may occur if soil moisture levels are not maintained.

Garden Uses

This is a substantial plant that needs a large space. Grows well in average garden soil in shaded areas as long as moisture requirements can be met. Also effective in moist woodland areas, native plant gardens, boggy areas or along streams and ponds margins where rhizomes help stabilize the banks.