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Cinquefoil - Potenrilla Nepalensis 'Miss Willmott'

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Question from Sandy Rawlins


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My cinquefoil is in its second year. It has 'collapsed' but is still flowering profusely. I'm new to gardening - should I have staked it, and can I cut it back (there's loads of new growth in the middle, underneath and all around, but no flowers) Help!

  • Views: 1537
  • Replies: 5
  • Posted: Sun. 19th July 2009 22:26

Trouble with Potentilla

Reply from Kathy C

Hi! Sounds like you have had a problem I have had with my Potentilla in the past - floppage! This is usually because of one of two things - too much water or the soil is too fertile. Potentilla like poor, sharply to well-drained soil and they need to be in full sun. After flowering, you can prune it back to within 2cm of old wood and let that new growth happily do its thing. When it is dormant, say in late winter, you can remove a third of the old wood right down to the base. If the whole plant looks really bad, you can prune the whole thing to the ground in winter, just above strong buds on each shoot. Majority of the time, it will come back but there is the slim chance when doing this hard pruning, it will not recover. Hope I am not giving to many option so as to confuse you on what to do. Any chance of adding a photo?
Kathy C>

  • Posted: Mon. 20th July 2009 21:35

Good advice?

Reply from Nicola

Hi Sandy - did this advice from Kathy help you out? I am sure she would love to know if it was. All the best, Nicola

  • Posted: Sun. 26th July 2009 17:40

My potentialla problem

Reply from Sandy Rawlins

Hi Kathy, thanks for your response. You'll have to excuse my ignorance, given that I'm new to all this, but I have two 'potentilla' in my garden. One of them, a woody shrub (Pink beauty) is doing ok, and I think all I need to do with that is to tidy it up a bit around October time.

The troublesome 'Miss Willmott' is a perennial, with no wood or buds, and is sprawling all over the place at ground level with, as I said, loads of new growth underneath and masses of pink flowers. I love it, but I'm wondering if the advice you have given me is for the shrubby cinquefoil rather than the perennial?

PS I haven't done anything with it since I asked for help, as it's done nothing but rain here and I can't get out into the garden!!
Thanks anyway

  • Posted: Sun. 26th July 2009 20:37


Reply from Kathy C

Hi Sandy,
Forgive me!! I didn't pay attention to your title - just saw Potentilla!
Your problem is most likely what I said in my other response (this holds true for both types) that it is in too fertile soil - probably high in nitorgen - which would explain lots of vegetative growth at the expense of flowers. Best thing to do is leave it be and then cut back in spring. If you apply fertiliser to your plants next season, just give the Potentilla a wide berth. A little less nutrition, and it should flower.
Hope this has (finally!! :) ) been helpful!
Kathy C

  • Posted: Tue. 28th July 2009 16:58

Good soil a problem?!

Reply from Sandy Rawlins

Thanks very much. I'll leave it be and see what happens. I am told that we are blessed here with particualrly good soil!! Seems you can't win, but it's fun trying!!.

  • Posted: Tue. 28th July 2009 21:06