Growing Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla mollis) in Your Garden.

Lady's Mantle in Flower (Alchemilla mollis)
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If you want to add some cottage charm to your garden, Lady's Mantle is a plant you should know. Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla Mollis) is an old-fashioned flower that is still very popular today. And no wonder. Its fuzzy, cupped leaves hold glistening droplets of water after a rain and it blooms in frothy sprays of dainty, yellow flowers that spill over in late spring and early summer. Besides being beautiful, it is also used in making lotions and soaps. Lady’s Mantle is a long-lived perennial flower that is fairly low maintenance and blends well with other spring bloomers.

Lady’s Mantle plants form a nice sized clump, although they will also self-seed in many gardens. The seedlings are easy to lift and move to another spot in the garden or give away to grateful friends, so don't worry about them becoming invasive.

  • Foliage: The leaves of Lady’s Mantle are like shallow, pleated cups. The soft hairs make water form droplets that roll around on the leaves. These hairs make the leaves feel velvety, not scratchy or unpleasant to touch.
  • Flowers: Lady’s Mantle flowers are airy masses of tiny, yellow-green flowers that sit above the foliage until they flop down from their own volume and weight, becoming a froth of blooms. They are somewhat like a chartreuse baby’s breath and make nice cut and dried flowers.
  • Botanical Name: Alchemilla mollis
  • Common Name: Lady's Mantle

Hardiness Zones and Exposure

Lady's Mantle is reliably perennial in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 - 8. Lady's Mantle will grow in either full sun or light shade. If grown in full sun, your plants may need more frequent watering. The bloom period is late Spring to early Summer. The flowers hang on for several weeks.

Mature Size of Lady's Mantle Plants

The size of Lady's Mantle plants will depend on the growing conditions but expect them to grow about 18 - 24 inches high, and 18 - 26 inches wide. 

Design Suggestions

Lady’s Mantle is wonderful along with the edge of a garden or walkway where it can lean over and soften hard edges. The foliage looks good all season and can make a nice ground cover under small trees.

A mass planting of Lady’s Mantle is very eye-catching when in bloom, but kind of loses its impact after flowering. Lady’s Mantle makes a nice contrast for bright daylilies and roses that bloom at about the same time. It's especially eye-catching used in contrast to burgundy and purple foliage.

Suggested Varieties

  • Alchemilla mollis: Common Lady’s Mantle is widely available and easy to grow.
  • Alchemilla mollis ‘Thriller': More upright growth habit and larger leaves.
  • Alchemila alpina: Known as Alpine Lady’s Mantle, A. alpina is much smaller than A. molliis, with silver edges on the leaves.

Lady's Mantle Growing Tips

Lady’s Mantle can be grown from seed, seedlings or divisions. If you’d like to try growing Lady’s Mantle from seed, direct sow outdoors after all danger of frost. Barely cover the seeds and keep them well watered. You can start them indoors a couple of months before your transplant date. It takes about 3-4 weeks for Lady’s Mantle Seeds to germinate, so be patient.

It's easy to start Lady’s Mantle from seed and it certainly self-seeds well on its own. However the plants are readily available and somewhat inexpensive, so most gardeners start out with at least one plant and then see how well it seeds on its own. Lady's Mantle also divides easily.

Plant at the same depth as it was in the pot. Supplemental feeding is not usually necessary with Lady’s Mantle unless you have poor soil. If so, a handful of slow release organic fertilizer can be mixed in at planting time.

Lady’s Mantle isn’t terribly particular about soil. It is drought tolerant and doesn’t like to sit in wet soil, but in high heat or full sun, regular watering is required to prevent the leaves from turning dry and brown. Lady’s Mantle does best in a soil that is slightly acidic to neutral, with a soil pH of 5.5 - 7.5.​

Mulch around the plant, but not up to the stem. Lady’s Mantle tends to hug the ground, so keep the mulch from covering the plant.

Caring for Your Lady's Mantle Plants

The only maintenance Lady’s Mantle really needs is the occasional cleaning up. Deadhead the flowers as they start to dry and remove older leaves as they brown. New leaves will quickly fill in.

Leave Lady’s Mantle standing in the fall. It is semi-evergreen and will overwinter better if left intact and cleaned up in the spring.

Pests and Problems

Few problems plague Lady’s Mantle. Areas with high humidity may experience some fungus problems, particularly if the crown is kept damp. Good air circulation and allowing the soil to dry slightly should help.