Hepatica yamatutai has elegant, ivory white flowers in February and March. The almost evergreen, hairy green leaves are five notched and deeply divided into three pointed lobe; the under surface of the leaf is deep red violet. Height 10-15cm

Ideal in the Alpine house but well worth trying in the garden. Hepatica yamatutai is much sturdier and more upright than H. henryi. The larger foliage is much hairier; the flowers are larger and more elegant. The Chinese hepaticas require an extremely sheltered position if grown outside. 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 Chinese hepaticas in clay pots in the protected environment of an alpine house or poly-tunnel. `Benefits from the addition of a little dolomite lime in the compost.

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