Hepatica acutiloba has upward facing, mainly white, occasionally pale pink or pale blue flowering between February and April. Sometimes they can be wonderfully fragrant. Their sharp-lobed leaves are mainly green with occasional faint marbling; they are almost evergreen and are thinner than those of H. americana. Slightly sturdier and more upright than H. americana, this species has exquisite hairy stems and young foliage. Height: 10-22cm (4-9ins).

The American hepaticas require a sheltered position in the garden. Plant on a cool, well-drained slope in a light ‘fluffy’ soil rich in leaf mould. It is essential that they are exposed to early spring sunshine, but they must receive plenty of shade immediately after flowering and especially during the heat of the summer. They will thrive under deciduous trees and shrubs or in crevices in the rock garden, performing best where there is good humidity. They respond well to a top-dressing of leaf-mould in autumn and an annual feed of fish, blood and bone in late winter. Remove old leaves just before flowering. Many enthusiasts prefer to grow the American hepaticas in clay pots in the protected environment of an alpine house or poly-tunnel.

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