Lady’s mantle, Alchemilla mollis, is a popular and easy-to-grow hardy herbaceous perennial, which thrives in a wide range of soils and situations. Lady’s mantle also has uses as an herbal medicine, primarily for menstrual disorders and other female problems, which is how this plant got its name. Attractive in both flowers and foliage, lady’s mantle forms low, spreading clumps of pale green leaves, crinkled and scalloped at the edges so they hold the dew or rain in perfect pearl drops that catch the light. In early to mid-summer, masses of tiny yellowish-green flowers are borne on lax, spreading stems, giving the whole plant a frothy appearance, with a maximum height and spread of 60cm. Lady’s mantle is herbaceous, dying back to the ground in autumn and regrowing in spring. It does self seed freely, making removal of faded flowers advisable before seed ripens and falls.
Medicinal uses of lady’s mantle
Lady’s mantle has been used for hundreds of years to treat menstrual and menopausal disorders and to treat inflammation and is still prescribed by herbalists today. As with all herbal medicines, only take as advised by a qualified herbalist.
How to grow lady’s mantle
Buy and plant lady’s mantle at any time of year. Remove faded flowers to prevent self-seeding, cut back floppy growth in summer after flowering, and cut to the ground completely in autumn once the plant has died back. Propagate, or rejuvenate old clumps, by division when dormant.
Growing lady’s mantle: jump links
- Planting lady’s mantle
- Caring for lady’s mantle
- Growing lady’s mantle: problem-solving
- Propagating lady’s mantle
- Where to buy lady’s mantle
Where to grow lady’s mantle
Lady’s mantle is a versatile perennial that thrives in most soils except boggy ground and in sun or part shade. Plant singly or in groups at the edges of borders, in gravel gardens, as ground cover under roses and shrubs, or in a woodland garden. The lime-yellow flowers make handsome partners to other plants with blue, purple or orange blooms.
How to plant lady’s mantle
Autumn or spring are ideal times to plant lady’s mantle, although this hardy perennial can be put in at any time of year. If planting in groups, allow 30-45cm between plants. If planting during the growing season, keep watered until established.
How to care for lady’s mantle
Lady’s mantle is a tolerant, easy to grow plant that needs little maintenance once established.
Cut back faded stems after flowering. Do this before the seeds ripen to prevent it self-seeding. If the plant is looking straggly, cut stems to the ground to encourage fresh new growth to form. Once growth has died back in autumn, cut to ground level.
How to propagate lady’s mantle
Divide established plants in autumn or early spring while plants are dormant. Dig up the clump and split into good-sized pieces, each with plenty of roots and shoot buds. Replant at the same depth as growing previously, into soil which has been improved with compost or soil conditioner.
Growing lady’s mantle: problem solving
Lady’s mantle does not suffer from any pests or diseases.
Advice on buying lady’s mantle
Lady’s mantle is widely available from nurseries, garden centres, and online suppliers. Plants are available in several sizes, from 9cm pots up to 2 litre pots. During the dormant season, purchase plants as bare rooted clumps.