The Potentilla ‘Gibson’s Scarlet’ is a genus from the Rosaceae family and is also commonly named cinquefoil. The cinquefoil is originally from the moderate regions of the northern continent.
The name Potentilla comes from the Latin word potens which means powerful because of the powerful medicinal power of the perennial.
The cinquefoil is a reasonably compact plant of about 8 inches (20 cm) high. The Potentilla ‘Gibson’s Scarlet’ is clump-forming and spreads gradually. Depending on the severity of the winter the leaves may stay evergreen. In spring new leaves are formed. In the specifications I have described this as a plant that newly emerges every year. The leaves look similar to those of strawberries.
At the end of spring the Potentilla ‘Gibson’s Scarlet’ grows large stems on which the flowers are born. These stems are about 16 to 20 inches (40 to 50 cm) long and mostly crawl across the ground because they are not strong enough to stand upright. The tips of the stems do grow upwards a bit and that is where the beautiful bright red flowers emerge. You can of course support the stems so that they do grow upright. When the flowers have withered these stems will die back. You can cut them off and what remains is the compact plant you started with at the beginning of the year.
The cinquefoil is an easy to grow perennial that prefers a sunny and warm spot. The Potentilla ‘Gibson’s Scarlet’ is tolerant to salt and is a nice groundcover.
Attracts bees: yes
Characteristic: newly emerging every year
Exposure: sun/ part shade
Flower colour: red
Flowering time: June – July
Foliage colour: green
Fragrant flower: no
Hardiness: -20 ºC (-4 ºF)
Height: 8 inches (20 cm)