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May flower

Epigaea repens

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May flowers, while difficult to propagate, make a lovely addition to a woodland garden, as they prefer to be grown in partial to full-shade under a leaf mulch. Both the trumpet-shaped flowers and the leathery leaves are fragrant, attracting both bird and insect-life.

Planning

Difficulty
Moderate
Flowering time
Spring
Fruiting time
Summer

Harvesting

Seeds can be harvested. The little green balls which replace the flowers, split in midsummer to show brown seeds embedded in a white pulp. Collect quickly before birds or insects find them.

Propagation

Division
Divide well-established tufts in autumn.
Seed
Sow ripe seeds shallowly in a shady position in a cold frame. Seeds sprout slowly. Germinations takes 3-5 weeks.
Layering
Layer branches as they root readily. Work gently as these plants do not like their roots to be disturbed.
Cuttings
Plant cuttings of previous year's wood in sandy soil, under a glass in gentle heat in spring. Once rooted, grow plants in pots until well established, and transfer in early autumn or spring outside.

Special features

Attracts useful insects
Both the leaves and flowers are fragrant inviting insects to visit.

Geography

Origin
America, Newfoundland to Florida, west to Kentucky and the Northwest Territories.
Natural climate
Temperate

Environment

Light
Partial Sun, Full Shade
Soil moisture
Dry
Soil type
Loam, Sand
Soil PH preference
Acid
Frost hardiness
Hardy

Uses

Medicinal
The leaves are used dried to make an infusion and fresh to make a tincture.

Personality

Family
Ericaceae
Flower colour
Pink to near white.
Scent
Strong

Problems

May flowers are generally not bothered by pests or diseases.

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