Today I planted 2 Shrubby Cinquefoil shrubs in raised bed 5 of my potager. In the spirit of potager, I have decided that a nicely rounded shrub on each end of this bed that is covered with bright yellow flowers from June through September will be both functional and pretty. My mounds of herbs between these two will blend nicely.
Although Potentilla is native to the western mountains of the US, it is a common shrub in northern areas with cooler summers. It doesn’t do well warmer than zone 7, and won’t survive being in a puddle. Anything else, it will take in stride. I had these two shrubs left from last year, and they got through the winter fine.
Potentilla is a nice landscape shrub in the US, but it is a well thought of medicinal and tea plant in other parts of the world. It is important as a tea in the Himalayan and Nepal and a major crop.
Tea made from the dried leaves have catechin, flavonoids, essential oils, resins, potassium, magnesium, iron, manganese, cobalt, copper, and calcium. It is higher in Vitamin C than lemon. The tea itself is health promoting, but like anything, don’t overdo it, keep it to a few cups a day.
As a medicinal, it has many properties, but it regulates immune function and gastric function. Most medicinal uses use infusions and decoctions, and simply drinking tea is pretty effective. No doubt because it provides so many trace nutrients.
It is planted in the sunniest location inside my potager, and protected and warm. I suspect it is zone 6 as a microclimate and is protected from some of the worst winds. I don’t think it matters for this plant, but will for some of my other herbs. It does like full sun.
Potentilla shrubs are either male or female and will not set seed without both. I bought two shrubs and did not verify while they were blooming. These are common here, so it is theoretically possible I could have outside pollinators, but unlikely. I may need to buy a third.
I would like seed, but they are very tiny. Potentilla is also easy to root from cuttings.
Potentilla is a butterfly attractor, along with beneficial insects. It resists deer. It’s leaves turn yellow-orange in fall.
I am starting to fill my herb garden, even though my last frost date is May. Shrubby Cinquefoil will make a good anchor for the bed.