Although not very common or well-known, Pulsatilla is a genus that deserves our attention and recognition for its approximately 40 superb species of herbaceous flowering plants. Common names for the plants of this genus include the Pasque flower (or Pasqueflower), Easter flower, Windflower, Meadow anemone, and Prairie crocus.
Some of the most interesting Pulsatilla species have a respectable reputation as stunning and easy-to-grow ornamental plants worldwide. In nurseries, you might want to look for species like P. alpina, P. cernua, P. halleri, P. patens, P. rubra, P. vernalis, or P. vulgaris.
But this is not all, these buddies please our eyes with other subspecies and cultivars, such as Slovak Pasque flower, Crimean Pasque flower, Greater Pasque flower, P. vulgaris ‘Alba’, and P. vulgaris ‘Rote Glocke’.
Want to know more interesting details about the unique and surprising Pasque flower? Keep reading our guide and you will find out everything about its unique features, ornamental uses, growing and caring tips, propagation, and more!
About Pasque Flower
- Pulsatilla, commonly referred to as Pasque flower originates from various regions of North America, Asia, and Europe. In its native habitat, it generally thrives and occurs naturally in meadows and prairies.
- The name of the species ‘Pulsatilla’ translates to ‘beaten’ (as in beaten by the wind, or wind-blown) and it was probably inspired by the way these attractive flowers sway in the wind. Its common name ‘Pasque flower’ comes from the word “pasakh”, which means ‘Passover’ in Hebrew. The name refers to the Easter (Passover) flowering period of this beauty, which occurs in spring.
- Although we said that Pasque flowers are not very well-known, some have received some well-deserved recognition. The Pulsatilla vulgaris species and the Pulsatilla halleri subsp. slavica variety have gained the prestigious Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit for their particular fabulous appearance and low-demanding nature.
- Pasque flowers will make for a wonderful addition to several landscape decorations including rock gardens, border fronts, hillside paths, alpine beds, wildflower meadows, cottage gardens, and any other type of flower garden. Pulsatilla is also a suitable species for container growing and it can be a suitable choice for xeriscaping, as it can become quite drought-tolerant when planted in semi-shade and once established.
- Pasque flowers look absolutely amazing if you plant them alongside ground cover plants and other spring-flowering bulbs. The most attractive companions for plants from the Pulsatilla family are Columbine, Bearded Iris, Ornamental Onion, Lupines, Cushion Spurge, Daffodils, Tulips, Dog Tooth Violet, Mexican Daisy, Mexican Feather Grass, Muscari, Sage, and Sea Thrift.
- In the language of flowers, the Pasque flower symbolizes all that is forsaken in love, so if you want to make a unique, mysterious, and romantic flower bouquet, make sure you add some Pulsatilla flowers.
- Some Pulsatilla species enjoy cultural importance. For example, P. nuttalliana is the state flower of the South Dakota State in the US and also the provincial flower of Manitoba in Canada.
- The Pasque flower is quite popular in the United Kingdom as it is the county flower of the counties of Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire.
- The Pasque flower contains protoanemonin so it can be highly toxic to both humans and animals if eaten in large quantities. All parts of the plant are poisonous and symptoms may include dermatitis, inflammation, or blistering upon skin contact with fresh sap, digestive problems, and mouth irritation. For safety purposes, plant Pulsatilla in a protected spot from your garden where kids or pets do not have access easily and handle the plant with gloves whenever you need to cut it, prune it, replant it, etc.
- Despite safety concerns, Pasque flowers play a significant part in medicine. Some folks believe that this plant is an excellent nervous system remedy against anxiety, insomnia, heart palpitations, nervousness, weepiness, inflammation, headaches, coughs, epididymitis, and premenstrual syndrome. This plant has confirmed antibiotic properties but due to its toxicity, it is not recommended for human use so you should never use this plant as a remedy at home.
If you are from the UK, or just visiting and wish to see a large colony of Pasque flowers, you can find them in Cotswolds, at the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust’s Pasqueflower reserve.
Pasque Flower Features: An Overview
- Pasque flowers belong to the Ranunculaceae family of plants. Other popular species from this family belong to the Aconitum, Delphinium, Nigella, Helleborus, Anemone, Clematis, or Ranunculus.
- The Pasque flower is a clump-forming herbaceous perennial. Depending on the species, this plant can reach from 8 to 12 inches (20-30 cm) in both height and width.
- The foliage of Pulsatilla species usually varies from one species to another. It ranges from deeply dissected, woolly basal leaves to ferny, silky ones. The foliage remains appealing throughout the plant’s active growing period, so this plant is worth growing for its attractive foliage as well.
- The Pasque flower blooms in early spring, but some species may also produce flowers in early summer. The blossoms are large, solitary, upright, bell-shaped or cup-shaped, and usually have hairs on their petals.
- A great thing about the Pasque flower is that it is an early bloomer that grows alongside other early spring bloomers, such as snowdrops. There is something special about the first flowers that greet us when the first rays of sun start to warm the ground making all such early bloomers perennial favourites of the gardening world.
- The flowers come along with a generous colour palette. They appear with showy, bright yellow stamens that create a hypnotic contrast with the petals, which can exhibit different shades of white, purple, red, pink, or lavender. Pulsatilla ‘Alba’ has delicate creamy white flowers and it tends to bloom a bit later and grow a little slower than other varieties. Pulsatilla ‘Papageno’ is another attractive variety that is a mix of bright pink, creamy white, bright pink, violet, dark red, and blue flowers that can be semi-double and fringed. If you like dark red blooms, Pulsatilla ‘Rote Glocke’ and Pulsatilla ‘Rubra’ are perfect Also called ‘Red Bells’ or ‘Red Cloak,’ which bloom a little later but produce the most attractive flowers.
- After its blooming season, the plant will bear plume-like seedheads in fluffy, spherical clusters. If you have a healthy plant, the Pasque flower may seed itself all over. After this, it will go dormant in the summer.
Growing Pasque Flower
The Pasque flower is one of those independent plants that can take care of themselves without any help other than Mother Nature. But once you get this plant home, you will naturally become its caretaker.
Luckily, growing and caring for the Pasque flower is not a challenge and you will be also able to spoil it whenever you feel like it. But before you start searching for an online nursery that sells these amazing plants, you need to get to know the Pasque flower better.
When it comes to lighting needs, the Pasque flower can grow nicely in a wide variety of exposures from full sunlight to partial shade.
- USDA HARDINESS ZONE:4-8
- GROW:Place the seeds in the refrigerator for five weeks. Fill a seed-raising flat with moist seed-starting mix . Remove the seeds from the refrigerator and spread them over the soil surface. Cover the seeds with a 1/8-inch layer of soil. Spray the soil with water and place the tray in a room at about 65 degrees.The seeds to germinate within three weeks.
- USE:Pasque is an excellent nervous system remedy. It specifically helps for anxiety that is associated with insomnia, nervousness, heart palpitations and weepiness.
- EXTERIOR:Flowers are showy are singular pale or dark violet, cup- or bell-shaped with 5-many petal-like parts and many stamens
- CARE:Grow pasque flower in well-drained soil in full sun. It does not tolerate root disturbance well, but can be transplanted. Cut back all of the open flowers and large buds before moving.Do not fertilize heavily.
- BLOOM TIME: Spring - Summer
- HARDINESS ZONE: 4 - 9
- PLANT HEIGHT: 6 - 12" . . . PLANT SPACING: 9 - 12"
- LIGHT REQUIREMENTS: Sun - Part Shade . . . SOIL / WATER: Average - Dry
- In addition to gorgeous blooms, the Anemone has fuzzy, attractive foliage. They bloom early in the spring and continue to bloom throughout the summer. They tolerate heat and dryness well, and attract bees and butterflies. After the blooms are spent in the fall, the Anemone has interesting spiky seed heads that last for several weeks.
- USDA Zones: 4 - 8
- Height: 12 inches
- Bloom Season: Spring and summer
- Bloom Color: Red
- Environment: Full sun to partial shade
Last update on 2023-07-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
In general, this plant will show the best performance regarding growing and especially blooming when it receives at least six hours of bright, direct light. If you live in a location with harsh summer afternoon sunlight, however, it would be wise to keep the plant in a spot with some shade in the second part of the day.
Temperature-wise, the Pasque flower is cold-hardy in the USDA zones 4 through 8. This means that the plant thrives in relatively cool and dry climates, even at high altitudes. The Pasque flower is an excellent addition to your collection in case you live in an area that is more on the cooler side.
Relatively cold temperatures are also mandatory for germination, so you should keep this in mind if you wish to start your own plants from seeds.
Pest infestations are typically a concern among gardeners but this is not the case for the Pasque flower. This buddy is somewhat pest-free, as the only intruders that might bother it occasionally are aphids. In the situation of an infestation, you do not need to panic!
You can easily get rid of aphids by washing the plants and knocking them off, or in case of severe infestations, by applying a horticultural product such as neem oil.
Planting Pasque Flower
The Pasque flower prefers a well-draining substrate that can keep it away from fungal diseases like root rot. It can grow just fine in lots of soil types but it will do best in sandy or humusy growing mediums. In terms of soil pH, you should plant your Pasque flower in a neutral to an alkaline substrate.
If you want to admire the beauty of this plant inside your home, we recommend you opt for a pot that features one or more drainage holes at the base.
As long as you manage to provide your Pasque flower with soil that is rich in humus, you can basically forget about supplemental feeding. Still, you will need to pay a little extra attention to the overall drainage that the plant experiences. But it is not as hard as you might expect! All you have to do is mix some small rocks into the soil or just add a bit of sand to it.
If you want your Pasque flower to reseed, there is no need to prune or deadhead it at all. If not, on the other hand, you must remove all spent flowers and collect their seeds. This process will help you prevent the plant from germinating and you can also sow the seeds in a spot you would personally prefer.
Watering Pasque Flower
This step is very important for the well-being of your Pasque flower. In general, this plant requires frequent watering during its period of interest, from spring through summer. In these seasons, we suggest you water yours one to three times every week. Make sure you water the plant at the base twice whenever you spoil it with a drink to ensure deep saturation of the soil.
It is recommended the water these plants at their base twice each time to ensure deep saturation of the soil. The soil should drain well so that the plants can absorb the moisture that they need without spending too much time in soggy conditions.
If you have concerns regarding over-watering, you can use the “soak and dry” method. In other words, after every drink, you should water your Pasque flower again only when the soil has dried out entirely.
Propagating Pasque Flower
If one of your plant-passionate friends or family members has seen your Pasque flowers and wants a specimen for themselves, you can prevent them from spending some extra money by propagating yours. Or maybe you just want more plant companions in your garden and that is understandable.
Propagating the Pasque flower is a cost-free method of making more beautiful specimens and you can even have a wonderful experience by doing it. You can propagate yours through division or seeds. Both methods are piece of cake even if you are only at the beginning of the road in your gardening journey.
To start Pasque flowers from seed, you will have to wait for yours to produce fruits. Once this happens, you can collect the seeds and sow them in small containers. The pots should contain a humusy, well-draining substrate for optimal growth.
Make sure you also water the seeds regularly to maintain the growing medium constantly damp. If you are doing this properly, germination will occur in the blink of an eye. When the seedlings are still small, in early spring, you can transplant them wherever you like or just let them in their pots.
Once your Pasque flower is mature, you can divide it to obtain more tiny specimens. In this method, you must dig the plant out of the ground, divide its roots into 4 to 6 sections, and then replant each part in its permanent spot. Do not forget to water the baby plants to help them establish in their new environment.
We think that Pulsatilla a.k.a. the Paque flower is an underrated member of the Ranunculaceae family, that should get some attention. It is a low-maintenance plant that doesn’t need much to thrive, and that is not susceptible to pests. The only real problem with Pasque flowers is that it is pretty difficult to decide which cultivar would be the perfect one for your garden. Especially when there are so many attractive ones available in nurseries! But once you figure this out, the rest will be easy.
Are you growing Pulsatilla a.k.a Pasque flowers in your garden? Let us know in the comments!