Saturday, September 27, 2008

Siberian Perennials - How Cold Can You Go?

If you're looking for a hardy plant, it makes sense to look in a cold climate. Our hardy perennials are often wild flowers or cultivars of plants that come from cold locations. I decided to compile a list of perennials whose names include "siberian" or "siberica/sibirica" or some location in or near Siberia. Surely if it can grow in Siberia, it could grow here in my cold climate garden in zone 1b.

Now for a brief geography review.

So on with my list of perennials and shrubs hardy in a land described as mostly taiga and tundra:
  • Siberian Iris (Iris sibirica)- I have several of these and they look fabulous
  • Siberian tea (Bergenia crassifolia)- I only have the related B. cordifolia
  • Honeyberries (Lonicera kamchatika) - a berry with blue fruit borne in June
  • Achillea sibirica ssp. camtschatica - a yarrow I found on the Jelitto seeds website.
  • Siberian squill (Scilla sibirica) - a darling little spring-flowering bulb that I enjoy in my yard, however one academic article states that it is actually only grows in the area south of Siberia. Zone 2.
  • Siberian dogwood (Cornus alba sibirica) - I have a few of these beauties
  • Siberian bugloss (Brunnera macrophylla) - from western Siberia. I have one of these lovely shade plants ("Jack Frost", zone 3) with elegant foliage.
  • Siberian Miner's lettuce (Claytonia sibirica) - listed as hardy to zone 4.
  • Siberian Primrose (Primula siberica) - listed as hardy to zone 1, so I MUST find one of these. Grows in Alaska as well.
  • Siberian columbine (Aquilegia glandulosa) - I was given one of these this summer! Listed as hardy to zone 3.
  • Siberian columbine (Aquilegia sibirica) - listed as hardy to zone 3.
  • Siberian foxglove (Digitalis sibirica) - not really hardy nor attractive according to the pictures I found.
  • Siberian Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum sibiricum) - hardy to zone 3.
  • Siberian Globeflower (Trollius ircuticus) - named after Irkutsk, one of Siberia's largest cities, a rare perennial listed as hardy to zone 3.
  • Siberian Bellflower (Campanula sibirica) - a small bellflower listed as hardy to zone 4.
  • Siberian Lily (Lilium pumilum) - an orange lily hardy to zone 3.
  • Draba sibirica - a tiny alpine plant with yellow flowers, I may need to find one for my new alpine garden.
  • Nepeta sibirica - a catmint listed as hardy to zone 4.
  • "Dahurica" - several perennials use this name, including Gentiana dahurica, Actaea dahurica, Mentha dahurica, Campanula glomerulata dahurica
  • "Tataricum" - meaning "of the Tatar mountains of Russia", which includes plants such as Ixiolirion tataricum and Goniolion tataricum (German statice).
To find further cold-hardy plants, I also searched for plants with "borealis", "boreale" and "arcticus" in their names, implying a northern plant.
  • This includes Phlox borealis, Primula borealis (zone 2), Achillea borealis (zone 3), Draba borealis, and Polemonium boreale (zone 3).
  • Also, Lupinus arcticus (zone 4) - I tried this plant once and killed it.
Wow, there are so many northern cold-weather perennials to try!


The Ms. S said...

Thanks for putting this list together. Wow, what a great idea!

Chookie said...

I know it sounds amazing, but Bergenias grow in Sydney! I don't think many of the others would, though.

Ottawa Gardener said...

Great list and I love the fact that you are using the latin names as a basis.

Titania said...

Hi, I had a look at your alpine garden. It looks fantastic. I had one when I lived in Switzerland.
I am wondering if plants from the alpine area in Switzerland would grow in your area? Like alpine Anemones, Gentian (Enzian) and Edelweiss? There are many more beautiful wildflowers.They flower over the warm summer month or spring and then disappear completely covered by snow and ice. You have put an interesting plant catalogue together. Not that I am able to grow them here but it is interesting to see. I am looking forward seeing your alpine garden next spring in all its glory!

Pusepilde said...

Hi :)
Like you, I'm always lookin for hardy plants for cold climates. Have you visited ?

Regards from another cold climate gardener,


Marion said...

Hi, love this, I´m on 55 parallel too, in Europe, but being close to the sea we are a zone 4b..Thank you so much for thi collection of hardy plants.. if you do facebook I´d like to invite you to out all boreal and subarctic permaculture group "Northern Abundance" Best wishes and a blessed winter solstice , Fairy..