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Creeping Avens: How to Grow and Care for Geum Reptans

If you want to learn everything about growing the creeping avens, keep reading! We’re showing you the best tips and tricks for caring for the blessed herb.

Creeping avens

This article teaches you all you need to know about growing your own creeping avens at home, so that you can start doing this without making mistakes. Or, you can take this opportunity to fix any problems about how to grow your creeping avens.

In the next section, check out the description of the creeping avens.

Creeping Avens Description

The fruits of creeping avens

The creeping avens (Geum reptans) goes by many names, such as blessed herb, herb bennet, prairie smoke, colewort, and yellow-flowered mountain avens. And they all reflect the unique character and charms of this plant.

Here’s what you should know about the creeping avens plant:

  • The blessed herb is a member of the rose family. It’s both a perennial and an evergreen plant.
  • Prairie smoke grows in the cooler zones between 4 and 8.
  • It’s native to Europe and Central Asia, where it grows up to 4 inches at most and sends out its wispy pink blooms to brighten up the valleys.
  • Thanks to the unique flowers, creeping avens has been used in many traditional remedies.
  • The flowers are yellow in the spring and turn pink in the summer when the seeds develop.
  • Seeds form at the end of the wispy filaments, which are then collected and ground to make poultices, infusions, and teas. These seeds are rumored to treat, or at least alleviate the symptoms of various ailments, such as fever, gout, mouth ulcers, diarrhea, and halitosis.
  • Herb bennet sends red runners to spread out and claim any empty space available. So it’s not a big surprise when one plant multiplies and fills up the drab corner with bright colors within a few years.
  • If you don’t want the herb bennet to spread out, regularly prune it and trim off the red runners to keep it compact. 

In the next section, learn about the types of creeping avens.

Creeping Avens Varieties

Colewort has many cultivars, which were primarily developed for their ornamental values. These varieties differ by the bloom color, drought tolerance, soil conditions, and longevity of the bloom season.

Here are some creeping avens cultivars to consider for your garden:

  • Blazing Sunset is more showy and colorful than other creeping avens varieties. The blooms of the Blazing Sunset are fiery red and last all spring until mid-summer. But this cultivar is a poor choice for a flower bed since it eclipses the other flowers with its rich and loud colors.
  • Totally Tangerine is a fantastic choice for your garden if you prefer flowers that last throughout the spring and summer, thanks to its long blooming season. The flowers of the Totally Tangerine are deep orange, and this cultivar has a good tolerance for warm weather and drought.
  • Pink Petticoats has unusual flowers, considering that creeping avens typically has wispy blooms. The edges of the Pink Petticoats petals are frilly and have various pink shades. You can grow this cultivar alongside the Totally Tangerine, although its blooms won’t last as long.
  • Leonard’s Variety is a blessed herb cultivar that tolerates wet soil and doesn’t succumb to root rot easily. The flowers of Leonard’s Variety have double rows of petals and come in coppery pink shades. 
  • Mrs. Bradshaw is a type of creeping avens that grows in clay soil without problems. And, just like Leonard’s Variety, Mrs. Bradshaw tolerates wet conditions pretty well. The flowers of Mrs. Bradshaw are scarlet with edges. You can pair this cultivar with Leonard’s Variety to enjoy the bright colors all spring long.
  • Princess Juliana has orange flowers that stay in bloom from May to July. This creeping avens variety favors moist soil but, unlike Mrs. Bradshaw, the soil needs to be well-draining. 

The good thing about having so many options is that you can choose the right creeping avens variety for your microclimate and growing conditions. For instance, if you have heavy soil and don’t feel like amending it, plant Mrs. Bradshaw. Or, if it’s a wet corner in the garden, pick Leonard’s Variety.

In the next section, discover the steps for growing creeping avens in your garden.

How to Grow Creeping Avens

Prairie smoke variety

Here are the complete step-by-step instructions for growing creeping avens from seeds: 

  1. Check the temperature outside. The yellow-flowered mountain avens needs 68 to 85 degrees F (20 to 29.4 degrees C) for the seeds to germinate. If your region doesn’t currently match the temperature conditions, start the seeds indoors.
  2. Fill a shallow tray with a sterilized growing medium.
  3. Sprinkle the seeds on the surface of the shallow tray and cover them with a shallow layer of the growing medium. Don’t firm it since the seeds need light to germinate.
  4. Moisten the tray and keep it in a warm room with enough sunlight.
  5. Keep the soil or growing medium moist for the next 3-to-4 weeks until the seeds germinate.
  6. If the temperature drops below 68 degrees F (20 degrees C), place a heat mat under the tray.
  7. When it gets warmer outside, choose a sunny spot in your garden to transplant the seedlings.
  8. Till the soil and mix in organic materials to improve drainage.
  9. Dig a hole deep enough to take the root ball of the seedling.
  10. Plant the seedling in the hole and align the soil mark with the edge of the hole. Backfill with soil and firm it to push out air pockets.
  11. Water the seedlings immediately to reduce the transplanting shock.
  12. Space the plants between 1 and 1/2 feet to avoid overcrowding.

In the next section, find out how to care for your growing creeping avens.

Creeping Avens Care

This section shows how to correctly tend to your blessed herb by describing the growing conditions regarding soil, light, watering, temperature, fertilizing, pruning, and pests and diseases.

Let’s start with the soil conditions.

Soil

Here’s what you should know about the soil when growing creeping avens:

  • The right soil for creeping avens is rich, well-draining, and well aerated. So neither sandy nor heavy soil is good for this plant.
  • Amend heavy soil with coarse sand and sandy soil with silt to get a balanced texture.
  • Add in as many organic materials as you can, but keep an eye on the soil’s pH level since it should be between 5.5 and 7.0.
  • Slightly acidic soil is good for the blessed herb.
  • Use mulch to increase the acidity of the soil, and allow the mulch time to decompose.
  • Add lime to decrease the soil’s acidity, try adding lime while keeping in mind that 1 lb/sq2 raises the pH reading by 0.5.

In the next section, discover the light conditions.

Light

Here’s what you should know about light when growing creeping avens:

  • This evergreen perennial needs sun all year round.
  • Although most creeping avens varieties require full sun and need 8 hours of sunlight every day to thrive, some varieties are more tolerant of shade.
  • If you don’t get enough sun in the winter, consider growing the plant in a pot and using growing lamps to keep it healthy.
  • For outdoor planting, choose a west-facing spot to get as many hours of sunlight as possible.
  • You might need to provide partial shelter during the summer months, especially in the afternoons, since the scorching sun could damage the leaves.

In the next section, discover the watering conditions.

Watering

blessed herb

Here’s what you should know about watering when growing creeping avens:

  • Check the type of creeping avens you’re growing to determine the correct amount of required water.
  • For the average plant, provide the average quota of 1 inch of water per week.
  • Some varieties are more drought tolerant than others and accept less watering.
  • Cultivars like Leonard’s Variety need constant moisture and thrive in wet conditions.
  • Ask the nursery where you bought the cultivar for the best watering practices to keep the plant happy all year round.
  • Even though it’s an evergreen plant, the watering needs decrease as the temperature drops in the fall and winter.

In the next section, discover the temperature conditions.

Temperature

Here’s what you should know about temperature when growing creeping avens:

  • All resources recommend zones 4 to 8 as the ideal microclimates for this hardy plant.
  • Some people claim that the colewort grows in zone 2, but it’s still unsubstantiated.
  • Although the blessed herb tolerates temperatures as low as 15 degrees F (-9.4 degrees C), this doesn’t guarantee that it can survive frost, so caution is advised.
  • If the air temperature reaches 95 degrees F (35 degrees C), your perennial won’t suffer, as long as the humidity levels are moderate.

In the next section, discover the fertilizing conditions.

Fertilizing

Here’s what you should know about the fertilizing conditions when growing creeping avens:

  • Creeping avens thrives in fertile soil and expects regular side-dressing throughout its life.
  • Aged manure and homemade compost are necessary even if the soil is naturally rich.
  • Start your fertilizer applications in the early spring to encourage more blooms and dense foliage.
  • Continue to side-dress the creeping avens until the end of the summer when the last flower drops. Then hold off any feeding to prevent new growths that wouldn’t survive the cold temperatures of fall and winter.

In the next section, discover the pruning conditions.

Pruning

Here’s what you should know about the pruning conditions when growing creeping avens:

  • As with all perennial plants, creeping avens tend to grow out of shape or get leggy after a few years. It also gets invasive once it establishes.
  • Although the blessed herb doesn’t grow above 18 inches high, it spreads to cover an area of up to 2 feet wide. But it’s always on the lookout for expanding its territories and starting new plants.
  • Regular pruning and flower deadheading are the two best practices to keep your evergreen perennial in shape and within limits.
  • The best time to prune the blessed herb is in the fall after all the flowers have faded. This will rejuvenate the foliage and prevent the plant from getting leggy.

In the next section, learn how to handle pests and diseases.

Pests and Diseases

colewort

Here’s what you should know about pests and diseases when growing creeping avens:

  • As a hardy plant, the colewort has no specific diseases that target it aggressively.
  • For the most part, it will not give you any problems as long as it’s getting enough sunlight, water, and fertilizer. And the same goes for pests.
  • The only bug you have to worry about is the sawfly larva, which has a voracious appetite and feeds on the leaves of the evergreen plant. A telltale sign of the sawfly larva are holes in the leaves.
  • Although the sawfly larva doesn’t pose a real threat to the plant’s life, it makes it ugly.
  • Treat the sawfly larva with a mixture of botanical pyrethrin and insecticidal soap. Or you can invite its natural enemies into your garden: birds, ants, predatory wasps, frogs, and lizards. 

The next section gives you more information about the blessed herb plant.

FAQ

This section gives you simple answers to common questions about the creeping avens.

Are creeping avens invasive?

Yes, creeping avens can be invasive in some habitats. This plant is a perennial that spreads by both seed and rhizomes (underground stems). Creeping avens can form dense mats that crowd out other plants, and it is difficult to control once it becomes established.

Where can you grow creeping avens?

Creeping avens is native to Europe and Asia. But it has been introduced to North America, where it is now found in parts of the eastern United States. This plant grows best in moist to wet soils and partial to full shade. It tolerates a wide range of soil conditions, including clay, sand, and loam.

Can you grow creeping avens indoors?

Yes, you can grow creeping avens indoors. This plant does best in bright indirect light and moist soils. Keep the soil evenly moist, but not soggy, and fertilize monthly during the growing season. Creeping avens is a slow-growing plant, so be patient when growing it indoors.

The next and final section summarizes the entire article about creeping avens care.

Conclusion

Now you have all the information you need for growing your very own blessed herb at home. If you start growing it in a pot, be sure to move it outside when the weather is right.

What are your secret tips and tricks for growing the creeping avens? Let us know in the comments below!

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