Sequim Rare Plants
Dierama,  Eryngium,  Hemerocallis,  Heuchera,   Hosta,  
Iris,  Hedera,   Jovibarba,   Kniphofia - 1,   Kniphofia - 2,  
Large leaved perennials,   Pelargonium x domesticum,   Grasses,  Primula,   Seeds,  
Sempervivum,   Viola,   Western Natives,   Shrubs & Trees,   Additional Plants
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Perennials with Large Leaves

Acanthus -- bear's breeches
There are two forms of this here. One of them, named mollis, has larger dark green shiny leaves. The second, named hungaricus, has leaves that are not as wide however, are more deeply lobed. Both flower from midsummer into autumn with taller stems of creamy and purplish blossoms. Mollis is shy to begin flowering until she has firmly settled in after a few years. Hungaricus has the advantage of not being so shy to bloom. They only require an average amount of watering, and are very long lived. The foliage height of mollis will be anywhere from three to five feet depending on the quality of the light and ground, with flower stems of four to six feet. Hungaricus is a bit lower.
Astilboides tabularis
This used to be named as a rodgersia. It needs similar care - moister ground than usual. It has a different appearance, having even larger, completely rounded leaves. Unusual and interesting is how the leaf stem attaches itself underneath, to the center of the leaf, looking like the handle on an open umbrella. Has taller clusters of white flowers in summer. Is very striking alongside a pond.
Usually grows two to three feet tall, although it can reach five feet. Creeping rootstock slowly spreads to form a clump with large, rounded, lobed leaves. Likes deeply moist soil in sun or light shade. The white or pale pink flowers appear in spring before the leaves show.
Several different types of leaves are available. One is round and grayish-green with highly ruffled edges, and with pink highlights. Another is round but with very dark green leaves speckled with light-yellow dots and spots of varying size. A third is also round but with large random splashes and stripes of cream and white against a dark green background.
Young plants are offered, that after several years in your garden can easily grow very large leaves of five or even six feet across, on stems tall enough that an adult can stand beneath them. Prefers to have lots and lots of moisture. Grows well in full sun or partial shade. With interesting, if not highly colorful, cones of flowers at ground level. The photo on the left shows a three-year old plant, and the photo on the right is a closeup of part of the cone with its orange colored seeds in October.
Heracleum lanatum
(cow parsnip) Native to the Pacific coast of North America, this perennial has large, three fingered leaves, and large flat-topped clusters of white flowers in summer. In the wild its height can reach eight feet. It is commonly seen west of the Cascade Mountains from Washington to Alaska, in places with damp ground from sea level to subalpine elevations. It was used by the majority of indigenous people along the Norhtwest Coast as a green vegetable. I handle it all the time and it is not especially dangerous, however a word of caution is necessary to warn that rubbing against it can raise welts on the skin, especially to light sensitive individuals. It doesn't need lots of water to grow well in a garden, but to grow it as large as possible extra watering is needed. It would make a bold and dramatic statement in the right spot, possibly backing up other flowering plants such as daylilies and siberian irises.
Of all the large-leaved perennials listed here, these are the most widely available. One is tall, named 'The Rocket,' with 4 to 6-foot tall spires of golden flowers in August, and a lower one with green and dark reddish leaves, named 'Desdemona,' having clusters of large golden daisies in late summer.
Melianthus -- honeybush
This plant grows into a woody shrub about five feet in height, having large fingered, grayish or silvery leaves with a zig-zag pattern to the leaf margins as though they were cut with large pinking shears. Survives our winters although sometimes the stems are killed back in winter and must resprout from the roots. On warm summer days the rubbed leaves have a peanut butter-like scent. Flowers here in early summer with clusters of reddish blooms on top of the leaves.
Locally known as “pest-a-si-tees” because of its rapidly spreading growth. One has an attractive green and creamy-yellow variegated leaf, with stems of eighteen to twenty-four inches. The other, named giganteus, has larger, plain-green leaves of three feet across. Both have flowers very early in the spring before the leaves appear, that are mildly fragrant.
Rodgersia pinnata
Fingered leaves that resemble those of a horse-chestnut. To grow large and thrive this needs extra moisture in the soil. If it is too dry the edges of the leaves will turn brown and dry. In the right location it grows large, three to four feet in height, and produces slightly taller clusters of creamy flowers in summer.
Telekia speciosa
Jagged edged leaves of light green grow large. It has golden petalled flowers in summer that have particularly thin petals. Grows about four to five feet in height, and requires less attention to water than the other large-leaved plants listed here.
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