What Is Edelweiss: How To Plant Edelweiss In The Garden
Sweet little alpine flowers and woolly leaves characterize the nostalgic edelweiss plant. Oddly, they are classified as short-lived perennials, which produce fewer and fewer flowers over time. Edelweiss is a classic flowering plant whose name means “noble” and “white” in German. It is found in many challenging environments and originates from the Steppe of Asia. Learn how to plant edelweiss and enjoy it as part of your rock or container garden.
What is Edelweiss?
Edelweiss (Leontopodium alpinum) is a member of the daisy family. The plants are said to have snowy white flowers, but in reality the fuzzy white forms are modified leaves. The true flowers are short lived and rather unappealingly yellow and tiny.
The plant is extremely hardy and has a fibrous root system that helps anchor it on rocky slopes. The thick, furry leaves help prevent moisture loss and form a barrier against wind and scouring rain. Edelweiss plants are slow growing and rarely exceed 8 by 8 inches (20 x 20 cm.).
What is edelweiss useful for? The plant has derivatives that make excellent sun blocks and skin care!
How to Plant Edelweiss
Edelweiss plants are not fussy little herbs. The need full sun and are hardy down to zone 4 in the USDA plant hardiness rating. You can purchase mature plants or start seed inside at least six weeks before the date of the last frost.
Sow seed on the surface of the soil and then mist lightly. Keep damp until germination and then move the plants to a sunny window. Transplant the seedlings after hardening off into a well amended garden bed with bright light and excellent drainage.
Growing edelweiss from seed is not a precise science. The germination percentage is variable. Store seed in the freezer for approximately three months to mimic the stratification they would receive in the wild.
Care of Edelweiss
The most important consideration for growing edelweiss plants is the soil. They need superior drainage and a pH that is slightly alkaline to medium acidity. For container plants, make a mixture of equal parts peat moss, sand, and compost. In-ground plants need a similar mixture, which you can work into the existing soil.
One of the factors that is not important to the care of edelweiss is water. In its native range, edelweiss is exposed to scouring winds and freezing temperatures. It is often in arid conditions and doesn’t tolerate soggy soils. Once the plant is established, it rarely needs water and additional moisture should be suspended entirely in winter.
Cover the plant with a thick layer of mulch in late fall and then pull it away in spring to allow new growth to come through. Edelweiss may self seed in areas with cooler summers. As a rule, it dies out after several seasons in the home landscape but the baby plants will eventually grow up and delight you anew with the woolly flower-like foliage.
Edelweiss (Leontopodium Alpinum) – 100 Seeds
Grow these famous flowers from Edelweiss seeds! Edelweiss is a favorite wildflower of the Swiss Alps, best suited to growing in a well-drained rock garden, mass ground cover planting, or alpine trough. Leontopodium Alpinum plants form a low clump of silvery grey foliage, bearing clusters of wooly white flowers with small flower heads held in stars of glistening whitish bracts in early summer. The Edelweiss flower is good for cutting, and it can be used in fresh or dried arrangements. Europeans historically have used the Edelweiss herb as a tea to treat diarrhea and dysentery. Edelweiss herb plants are also used widely as a cosmetic cream to aid healing and control facial wrinkles. The Edelweiss Leontopodium Alpinum plant is low-growing and makes nice compact border plants. They will sometimes self-seed and come back even stronger the following spring. Best in regions with cool summers. Drought-tolerant once established.
Edelweiss was known to help diarrhea and dysentery, and was actually called the “stomach ache flower” in Germany. It was also used to help combat tuburculosis and diphtheria, and was popular mixed in with hot milk and honey. One of its oldest uses was for the treatment of rheumatic pain.
When scientists got their hands on this plant, they found that it contained all sorts of great compounds beneficial to the skin. These include chlorogenic acid, luteolin, bisabolane derivatives, and beta sitosterol. Here’s a little more about these:
-Chlorogenic acid is a family of naturally occurring organic compounds, and is a major polyphenol in coffee. It has cleansing properties and is a powerful antioxidant.
-Luteolin is a flavonoid—actually, one of the citrus bioflavonoids known to have many benefits.
-Bisabolane derivatives in the plant possess calming properties.
-Beta sitosterol is a plant sterol helping to leave the skin with a calm and soothing feeling.
Combine all these properties and you have an herb that helps protect from environmental stressors—while nourishing the skin and providing an overall soothing, calming effect.
It is recommended to sow Edelweiss ground cover seeds indoors 4 – 6 weeks before last frost and transplant outdoors when temperatures have warmed. Edelweiss herb seeds are very small, so do not cover them. Just gently press seeds into the soil in the starter tray. Water from underneath the tray. Transplant the Edelweiss ground cover in a mostly sunny area and in soil that has excellent drainage. Rock gardens, raised beds, or even containers are ideal environments for Edelweiss.
USDA Zones: 3-9
Height: 6 inches
Average germination: 21-35 days
Bloom Season: Summer
Light Required: Full sun
Watering: Keep moist
Soil: Gritty, well drained soil.
Seed Depth: Press into soil, but don’t cover.
Seeds per Plant: 8
Plant Spacing: 8 inches
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