Water Avens
The water aven contains pinkish, purple or yellow bell-shaped flowers, and dark red or dark purple stems that contain many hairs. Mass in borders or rock gardens. Foliage makes an attractive ground cover after bloom.
Botanical Name: Geum rivale
Nom Français: Benoîte des ruisseaux

Features

Bloom colour: Pink | Purple | Red
Blooms: Summer - Zone 5
Pollinators: Bees
Sun or Shade: Full Sun | Partial Sun
Plant Type: Perennial
Height: Up to 1.5 feet (50 cms)
UK, Eastern North America
It grows well in hardiness zones: 3 to 7

Also known as drooping avens, water flower and Indian chocolate, water avens are useful as a ground cover for cool wet areas where many other plants often struggle. It is a perennial that blooms in late spring or early summer.

Planting

Meadows, stream and pond edge
Water requirement: Average water requirement, but keep soil moist throughout growth and bloom season.
Loam and Sandy soils
Propogate by division in spring or autumn.
Propogate by seeds in pots in a cold frame in winter.

Care

Prefers moist, fertile soils in cool climates. Likes boggy and swampy conditions. Not always reliably winter hardy in areas north of Zone 5. Deadheading spent flowers will encourage additional bloom.
It's growth rate is moderate to fast.
Although they are mostly pest-free, keep an eye out for leaf miners, saw flies and powdery mildew.

Pruning

Spread: 6" – 1' (15cm – 30cm)
Did you know that Purple Avens don't require any pruning? Just cut the faded shoots off when they start to show and the perennials will flower beautifully. To keep it from self-seeding, it's best to remove the seed heads

Considerations

It is deer resistent. Hybrids are becoming increasingly popular.
Native to Canada

Styling and Use

Natural habitats include stream sides, pond edges, damp deciduous woodland and hay meadows. The water avens attract butterflies and bumblebees. It will thrive in bogs, attracting bees, butterflies and dragonflies, which will bring in toads, frogs and other hungry animals.
Consider Campanula, Delphinium, Daylily as companion plants

Other

If boiled, its roots yield a liquid that tastes faintly like chocolate. The roots can also be made into an effective remedy for diarrhea when taken with milk and sugar.

History

Native Americans used the tea made from the roots to treat cough and colds. Powdered root was once used as astringent for hemorrhage and fevers.

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