POTENTILLA- POTENTILLA FRUTICOSA

Common Name: Potentilla, shrubby cinquefoil

Scientific Name: 
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Potentilla
Species: fruticosa

Hardiness Zone: 2 to 7
Height: 2 to 3 ft
Width: 2 to 3 ft

Common Characteristics: 

Potentilla, also known as shrubby cinquefoil is an easy-to-maintain ornamental flowering shrub that will stay compact. The shredding bark on the shrub stems is thin and finely textured. The leaves are compound-pinnate in an alternate arrangement and have 3 to 7 narrow elliptic leaflets each. They are a soft grey-green when the leaves first emerge and deepen to a dark green mid-summer. Flowers bloom throughout the summer and are more pronounced in cooler climates. Cultivars have a wide range of colors. 

Where it Grows:

This shrub prefers well-drained soils. It can be tolerant of poor soils, high pH soils, drought, road salt, and salt spray. Prefers full sun to part shade. It does not do well in USDA Hardiness Zones 7 so it is not recommended to plant there. It also does not do well in permanently wet sites. 

How it's Used:

Perfect for use in mixed borders and mass plantings. For the best performance, fertilize with a slow-release tree and shrub fertilizer and prune 1/3 of the plant back in late winter to maintain its shape in the next growing season. This shrub does not need any deadheading and its fibrous root system makes it easy to transplant. This shrub is deer resistant. 

Ecosystem Services:

Bees, butterflies, and other insect pollinators are attracted to the pink flowers. 

Where it is Native to:

This shrub is native to the northern US, Canada, Europe, and Northern Asia. 

Known Varieties and Their Traits:

  • Happy Face® Pink Paradise Potentilla (Potentilla fruticosa 'Pink Paradise'): Compact, 2 to 3 feet wide and 2 to 3 feet high. Semi-double pink flowers bloom throughout the summer and are more pronounced in cooler climates. The pink color from the flower blooms will fade in very hot conditions.
  • Goldfinger Shrubby Potentilla (Potentilla fruticosa ‘Goldfinger’): Compact, mounded habit reaching 3 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide. Bright, 1 to 2-inch yellow blooms accented against dark green foliage.
  • Mango Tango™ Potentilla (Potentilla fruticosa ‘UMan’): Tidy, compact rounded form 2 to 3 feet high and wide with mango-orange to red bicolor flowers from late spring to frost. Foliage is silvery-gray foliage.
  • McKay’s White Potentilla (Potentilla fruticosa ‘McKay’s White’): A small, mounded shrub 2 to 2 1/2 feet high and 2 to 3 feet wide. Creamy white flowers and soft green foliage stand up to summer heat.
  • Pink Beauty Shrubby Potentilla (Potentilla fruticosa ‘Pink Beauty’): A rounded dense shrub reaching 2 to 3 feet high and wide with attractive pink flowers and bright green foliage.

Problems:

Spider mites and mildew can be an issue in hot, humid weather. 

References:

"Potentilla fruticosa". Missouri Botanical Garden. Found online: https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=286391&isprofile=1&basic=potentilla%20fruticosa

"Shrubby cinquefoil." The Morton Arboretum. Found online" https://mortonarb.org/plant-and-protect/trees-and-plants/shrubby-cinquefoil/#overview

Happy Face® Pink Paradise potentilla flower
Happy Face® Pink Paradise potentilla