One of the most famous and longed-for wildflowers of the Swiss Alps, this is best suited to growing in a well-drained rock garden, scree or alpine trough where it will form a low clump of silvery grey foliage. In early summer it bears clusters of woolly white flowers with remarkable white felted bracts which can be up to 10cm (4in) across, and which can be cut, or even dried. It does best in a very well-drained, gritty soil in full sun and is drought-tolerant once established.
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:Edelweiss, Leontopodium nivale, Mountain flower, Lady's Mantle