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Blooms of Slender Cinquefoil (Potentilla gracilis). One of 100+ species of Pacific Northwest native plants available at Sparrowhawk Native Plants, Native Plant Nursery in Portland, Oregon.
Attractive leaves of Slender Cinquefoil (Potentilla gracilis). One of 100+ species of Pacific Northwest native plants available at Sparrowhawk Native Plants, Native Plant Nursery in Portland, Oregon.

Slender Cinquefoil

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Potentilla gracilis

Slender cinquefoil, also known as graceful cinquefoil, is a sweet and long-lived perennial with cheerful pale to yellow, five-petaled flowers that are an important source of nectar for small pollinators who lack the girth to open more complicated flowers. Attractive, sharply-divided, evergreen foliage, with diagnostic silvery-white undersides, sprawls gracefully from its woody crown and hosts many native butterflies. 

  • Plant type/canopy layer: deciduous perennial herbaceous plant
  • Size at maturity: 0-2' high, 1-2' wide
  • Light requirements: full sun to partial shade
  • Moisture requirements: moist soil
  • Bloom time: May - Aug
  • Growth rate/ease: moderate growth rate, easy to grow
  • Wildlife support: nectar source for adult butterflies, bees, and other insect pollinators and syrphid flies; caterpillar host plant and larval food source for moths and butterflies including the two-banded checkered skipper
  • Native habitat/range: common in meadows, prairies, open forests, roadsides, and shrub-steppe at low to alpine elevations. Many varieties are found across western North America. A technical key is usually required to tell them apart. Portland Plant List - yes.
  • Special features & uses: landscape uses include pollinator gardens, meadowscapes, and woodland garden edges; deer resistant; evergreen 

Gardening with Slender Cinquefoil: This adorable cinquefoil prefers full sun to partial shade with seasonally wet to moist soils that are well-drained and rich with organic matter. If planted in drier or more exposed locations, it will require supplemental water in the summer drought. Companion plants include ash and cascara trees, and other moisture-loving wildflowers like blue-eyed grass, lupine, and Oregon iris.


Photo Credit 1: Willamette Wildlings

Photo Credit 2: Nikkie West, Sparrowhawk Native Plants