Potentilla argentea

Common Name: silvery cinquefoil 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Rosaceae
Native Range: Europe, Asia Minor, Siberia
Zone: 3 to 7
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Bloom Time: May to July
Bloom Description: Sulfur yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Deer, Drought

Culture

Easily grown in moderately fertile, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerant of light shade. Also tolerant of poor soils. Established plants grow well in a wide range of conditions and have respectable drought tolerance. Plants have excellent winter hardiness and perform best in cool northern summer climates. Growing plants south of USDA Zone 7 is not recommended. Plants will naturalize by self-seeding and can be somewhat weedy, often forming dense colonies in the wild in optimum growing conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Potentilla argentea, commonly called silvery cinquefoil, is native to Europe, Asia Minor and Siberia. It is a vigorous, woody-based perennial that typically grows 6-12” tall. It has naturalized in many parts of the U.S., particularly in dry open fields east of the Mississippi River. It was omitted from the original edition of Steyermark (Flora of Missouri), but is being added to the second edition as a non-native taxon. This plant features five-petaled, sulfur-yellow flowers (to 1/2” across) in leafy terminal cymes. Flowers bloom from late spring well into summer. Compound palmate basal leaves, each with obovate, five-lobed leaflets, are gray-green above and tomentose-silvery below. The common name of cinquefoil is in reference to the leaves (cinq means five in French and foil means leaf in French).

Genus name from Latin potens meaning powerful is in reference to the reputed medicinal properties of the plant.

Specific epithet means silvery.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Mildew may occur in some humid climates. Fungal leaf spots. Spider mites will sometimes appear.

Garden Uses

Cottage gardens, meadows, naturalized areas. May be used in border fronts or rock gardens.