The delicate looking flowers of H. americana are in pastel shades of lavender blue, soft shell pink and white, they are smaller than H. acutiloba and more outward facing, flowering in February and March. Round-lobed evergreen foliage often beautifully marbled. Ideal in the alpine house but well worth trying in the garden. 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. Height 10-15cm.

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