Dutchman's Breeches: The Unusual and Delicate Spring Wildflower

Dutchman's Breeches: The Unusual and Delicate Spring Wildflower

Growing Dutchman's breeches may be a great way to welcome spring to your house, as this plant will be one of the first to bloom if you live in the Eastern United States.

The bloom on the Dutchman's breeches looks like a pair of upside-down pants, usually white. This plant typically grows between 5-and-14 in. tall on rare occasions and will put on pink blooms. Typically, each flower stalk contains five-and-14 flowerheads that turn into green pods before the end of spring. Once the pods dry and fall off the plant, the flower stalk dies back to reemerge the following year.

The leaves on this plant are between 4.5 in. and 14 inches long. Each leaf is triangular-shaped and has up to 14 leaflets. The flower stem rises upward from a scaly rootstock.

This shade-loving plant is likely a native of England, cultivated in the Chelsea Physic Garden. Early botanists from England probably introduced this plant to settlers during the early 19th century. Be sure to keep this plant evenly moist to prolong the bloom, as letting it dry out will hasten how quickly it dies back. In the winter, limit the amount of moisture this plant gets, when possible, to encourage it to come up even earlier. This plant performs well in zones 3 to 7 in regular or clay soil as long as it has enough shade.

Dutchman's breeches make a particularly great addition to native gardens, where you need to add some early spring bloomers. In its native environment, it does exceptionally well in wooded habitats, so if you have an area where there are several trees, consider adding this species to create visual interest in the early spring. Add this beautiful plant with stunning white or pink flowers to your landscaping soon.