With its frothy lime-green summer flowers and attractive apple green leaves, Alchemilla mollis is a delightful plant in its own right. But it really comes into its own when paired with other plants, especially those that have magenta, red, dark blue or purple flowers.
Alchemilla mollis, otherwise known as lady’s mantle, thrives in sun or part shade, so it’s very versatile and useful around the garden. Grown as a ground cover or front of border plant, it can act as the ‘glue’ that brings a planting scheme together. It can also be used to underplant larger plants, such as roses.
A popular cottage garden plant, it also lends itself to more contemporary planting schemes. It also makes an excellent cut flower.
For best results, grow in moist but well-drained soil. If it is cut back hard after flowering, it should produce a second flush of flowers in late summer.
Here are some summer-flowering plants that go especially well with Alchemilla mollis.
Alchemilla and hardy geraniums in shades of blue, magenta or purple make wonderful planting partners. Both thrive in sun or shade, making this a versatile combination. Both plants will benefit from a being chopped back after flowering to encourage more blooms.
Contrasting lime alchemilla and purple hardy geraniums
With purple, pompon flowers on tall stems, alliums look great underplanted with frothy Alchemilla mollis. The strappy foliage at the base of the plants can look unsightly as it dies back and lady’s mantle can do a good job of concealing it.
Mauve flowerhead of allium ‘Purple Sensation’
The acid bright colours of geums such as ‘Scarlet Tempest’, (pictured), ‘Tangerine Dream’ or ‘Mrs J Bradshaw’ contrast beautifully with the lime flowers of lady’s mantle. These two plants are a good combination for a cooler part of the garden, out of direct sun.
Orange-red geum ‘Scarlet Tempest’
Honesty, Lunaria annua, is grown for its fragrant purple or white flowers in spring and early summer. The purple type pairs especially well with Alchemilla mollis. It’s usually grown as a biennial and seeds itself freely around the garden. A good combination for a sunny or partially shaded spot.
Purple flowers and seedpods of honesty
Peonies have sumptuous but fleeting flowers in a range of colours from white to dark crimson. Growing Alchemilla mollis at the base of the plant complements the jewel flowers and provides interest once the peony has finished flowering.
Pink bloom of peony ‘Hawaiian Coral’
Penstemons also have flowers in a range of colours, from white to purple and from pink to deep red, all of which complement those of lady’s mantle. Their long narrow leaves contrast with the rounded leaves of alchemilla, too. A good combination for a sunny spot.
Pink-red penstemon ‘Razzel Dazzel’ planted with lime-green alchemilla
Roses tend to have ‘bare legs’ so any plant that can disguise this is very welcome. The soft mound of Alchemilla mollis is the perfect supporting act to all kinds of roses and the lime green flowers complement flowers of any colour.
Pink rose ‘Buxom Beauty’
The acid green of Alchemilla mollis complements many salvias, especially those with pink, purple or dark blue flowers, such as Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’, shown here. The mounded form of the lady’s mantle contrasts beautifully with the tall flower spires of salvias, too. A good combination for a sunny spot.
Deep-purple salvias standing out against a bed of alchemilla
Caring for Alchemilla mollis
Grow Alchemilla mollis in moist but well-drained soil in sun or partial shade. Cut back the foliage hard once it has finished flowering, then feed. This will encourage a new flush of leaves and more flowers in late summer.