Barrenwort (Epimedium sp.), also called Bishop's Hat, Bishop's Cap, is tough, long-lived groundcover. Prefers moist, well-drained organic soils in light to dense shade. Will tolerate dry shade and tree roots once established. Grows 12" — 15" tall. Late spring to early summer bloom. Nice fall foliage color. Space 10" — 12" apart. Perennial. Hardy in Zone 5.
Spring and early summer flowering epimediums perk up the ground beneath trees and in rock gardens in part shade. The new foliage is often a shade of coppery red, with a lively show of flowers from yellow to rich ruby. Barrenwort is slow-growing creeping plant with semi-evergreen leaves on erect wiry stems.
Epimediums are slow growing. The planting of epimediums I am currently admiring were planted 6 years ago and each clump is only about 1' in diameter. The first 3 years the plants were so small they were almost insignificant. But, since the third year the clump has steadily, all be it slowly, increased in size and beauty. To fully appreciate the beauty of the plants, cut them back to the ground in late winter before new growth emerges in early spring.
Propagation: Seed can be germinated in a cold frame or greenhouse, then moved outdoors after all danger of frost has passed. For quicker growth, purchase pre-started plants at your local Garden Center. Some what difficult to divide in spring, but can be done in spring. Another option is toot individual sections of rhizomes.