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Potentilla

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There are over 500 species of Potentilla (cinquefoil), including annuals, perennials, and small shrubs. All have the characteristic five-lobed leaf, and the single or double flowers may be white or in shades of yellow, red, or pink. Cinquefoil belongs to the rose family, and the foliage can be attractive, even when plants are not in flower. They may be anywhere from 2-20 inches high. The short types make good edging plants, while the taller ones can be used successfully in a mixed planting. Since flower stems tend to flop over, they may need light support. While it needs full sunshine, cinquefoil potentilla will also tolerate some dappled shade. It needs well-drained soil enriched with some organic matter. Potentilla are mainly herbaceous perennials and shrubs. They grow rapidly during the spring and summer, and tend to flower during the summer and fall. After flowering, Potentilla shrubs gradually die back to the crown or fleshy roots, and remain dormant during cold winter months. They may be lightly pruned before new growth emerges, ideally in late winter or early spring. Potentilla shrubs have excellent color range and are hardy from zones 2 through 7.