This compact and delightful flower from the Alps is seriously under-used in the garden where its delicate, fragrant, pink flowers, which have four pointed thin dark purple sepals and four bright pink ovate petals, borne on reddish stems against gray-green foliage, would be a welcome addition. It is native to the European mountain regions and to nearby mountain ranges such as the Carpathians, where it typically colonises acid gravels near rivers particularly after the retreat of a glacier. It immediately reminds you of Chamerion angustifolium (Rosebay Willowherb) but is instead a lovely, dwarf, non-invasive plant with flowers disproportionately large for such a small alpine.
Seeds can be sown at any time but are best sown in winter or early spring to benefit from a cold spell in the wet compost to break their dormancy. We advise covering seeds very thinly with sand or fine grit to about the depth of the seed size. If the seeds do not come up within 6 to 12 weeks the damp seed tray can be given cold treatment in a fridge for about four weeks. They may still take very many months to appear, so please never discard the pot or tray.
Common name:Alpine Willowherb