Avens usually grows wild in deciduous forests, on partially shaded forest paths and in clearings. The plants can also be cultivated in the garden. There, however, you have to be careful that they do not expand too much by self-seeding and overgrow the entire partially shaded garden area. Otherwise, there is not much to consider when growing and caring for it. It is important that the location and plant substrate are right and that the soil is always slightly moist. What else is important, we have put together for you. Continue reading!


  • Genus of the avens
  • Rose family
  • There are about 150 different types of clove root
  • The name refers to the clove smell of the rhizome (contains clove oil)
  • Real clove root was used as a medicinal plant in the past – under the popular name Benedictine herb
  • Natural occurrences in North Africa, temperate Asia and Europe
  • To be found in Germany in all federal states
  • Perennial, evergreen, herbaceous plants
  • Upright growth
  • 30 to 120 cm high
  • Carrot-shaped rhizome as a storage organ
  • Forms a basal rosette
  • Bright yellow flowers from May to October
  • There are also varieties that bloom in orange, red, or white
  • Small hairy nutlets as fruits

Real clove root – varieties

  • Geum bulgaricum – golden yellow flowers between May and July, grows to about 30 cm high
  • Geum chiloense hybrids – anemone-like flowers in golden yellow, apricot, crimson or orange-yellow, flowers from April to July, flowers only in the second year, long stems make good cut flowers
  • Geum coccineum – orange flowers, flowers from May to July, some rebloom, 25 to 40 cm high, evergreen
    • G. coccineum ‘Borisii’ – bright orange flowers from May to July, about 30cm high
    • G. coccineum ‘Cooky’ – bright orange, large flower with a yellow eye, good for pot keeping
  • Geum chiloense ‘Mrs. Bradshaw’ – blood-red flowers, flowering from June to July, about 40 cm high, cultivar when sown
    • G. chiloense ‘Lady Stratheden’ – nun yellow flowers, varietal at sowing
    • G. chiloense ‘Blazing Bank’ – double red flowers, varietal at seed
  • Geum hybridum ‘Georgenberg’ – orange-yellow flowers from April to June, about 25 cm high
    • G. hybridum ‘Goldball’ – semi-double, dark yellow flowers from June to August, about 40 cm high
    • G. hybridum ‘Prinzess Juliana’ – semi-double orange-yellow flowers from June to August, about 50 cm high
  • Geum montanum – common lower plants, grows on rocks, not as drought tolerant as other rock garden plants
  • Geum rivale – wild form, venison, flowers in white or pink, about 30 cm high, nodding flowers, better for partial shade to shade
    • Geum rivale ‘Album’ – white wild form (rather creamy green), flowers from April to June, about 30 cm high
    • G. rivale ‘Leonard’ – coppery pink flowers April to June, nodding flowers, about 30cm tall
    • G. rivale ‘Pink Frills’ – pink flowers with ruffled edges
  • Geum Triflorum – red flower bells, flowering between May and July, many hybrids, also semi-double varieties
  • Geum ‘Bell Bank’ – dark red stems, pink to orange flowers, quite large, about 45cm tall
  • Geum ‘Rusty Young’ – hybrid, yellow flowers with orange markings

The care of the avens

Carnation Root is a great rock garden perennial. The versatile plant requires little care in the right location and plant substrate. In addition, it is still versatile. The roots can be used, for example, as a substitute for cloves in cooked dishes. In England, the aroma is used for various liqueurs. The leaves can complement soups and salads. The young shoots are especially delicious. The herb has a medicinal effect on diarrhea, inflammation and stomach and intestinal problems.

There is not much to consider when it comes to maintenance. The location should not be too sunny. Partial shade is better, otherwise the soil dries out too quickly, which the plants don’t like at all. The plant substrate should be fresh, nutritious, humus and constantly slightly moist. The continuous moisture of the soil is particularly important. Regular watering is therefore crucial for the avens to feel comfortable in the garden. The soil should not dry out. Since plenty of nitrogen is required, it must also be fertilized. The winter hardiness is completely sufficient for the Central European climate. The plants do not need any protection. It also hardly needs to be cut. Propagation is by sowing, self-sowing and division. Diseases and pests are extremely rare.


The common avens feels most comfortable under trees, hedges and bushes. It also has few problems with their root competition. A warm place is important, but semi-shady is better so that the soil does not dry out so quickly. However, some varieties prefer a sunny spot.

  • heat-loving
  • Sun to semi-shade, semi-shady places are preferable
  • Partially shaded forest paths and clearings

plant substrate

It is important that the plant substrate is not too dry. Wetness is not desired, but damp would be beneficial. It should also be rich in nitrogen. Otherwise, clove root is not overly demanding. Humus soil would still be recommended.

  • Fresh, herbaceous oak hornbeam forests and alluvial forests
  • Nutritious
  • Loose, humorous and a little wet
  • Slightly acidic to low in lime
Tip: To keep the soil moist, a peat “mulch layer” is ideal. This keeps the top layer of soil moist for longer and the ones underneath don’t dry out as quickly.


When planting, it is important not to plant avens individually, as this type does not work. It looks best when larger areas are planted with it. It is important to replant avens every few years, whenever the willingness to bloom decreases.

  • Covering with peat is ideal
  • Planting distance 30 cm
  • If possible group planting, even better large-scale planting
  • Transplant after a few years, this increases the willingness to bloom and protects against flowering laziness. Experts recommend doing this every three years.
  • After digging up, remove all woody parts. Only the new ones that are still soft are planted again.
  • Add good compost when planting.
  • Goes well with asters, chamomile, grasses, cowslips, horned violets, yarrow, sage and Caucasian forget-me-not

watering and fertilizing

The real avens likes and does not tolerate dry soil. It should always be slightly moist. However, it does not tolerate wet conditions either. Here it is important to design the soil so that it does not become too dry. The covering with peat described above does a good job. In winter, the soil doesn’t have to be so moist.

  • Always keep the soil slightly moist
  • Occasional fertilization shortly before flowering is usually sufficient

To cut

Clove root doesn’t need much pruning. After flowering, a slight pruning is recommended to encourage reblooming. At the end of the season, the perennial can be cut down to the ground. The mostly evergreen leaves can also be cut down in spring.

  • Care pruning to promote reblooming
  • Cut back to the ground after flowering
Note: If you want to avoid self-sowing and thus avoid spreading the avens over a large area in the garden, you must cut off the faded flower stalks and do so before the seeds ripen.


Avens is extremely hardy. The plants survive an average Central European winter without any problems, even without protection.

  • Good frost hardy
  • Does not require protection


The propagation of avens succeeds well and is easy. The plants can be easily divided or propagated by seed. The self-sowing of the plants should not be underestimated. They quickly colonize large areas of the garden and are difficult to get rid of. The term “weed” then quickly appears.


  • preculture
  • Germinates at around 20°C
  • Cover seeds lightly with soil
  • Avoid too much moisture in the first few weeks
  • Harden off before planting out
Tip: If you want to get single-variety avens, you will have little luck growing from seeds. Sharing is the only safe option here.

Division in spring or autumn

diseases and pests

Avens is a hardy and healthy plant. Diseases are extremely rare. Pests are also not that common. Snails spare avens, which is particularly advantageous in rainy and snail-intensive years.

  • Now and then mildew can appear – treat well with a soft soap solution
  • Chemicals also help, but they are often dangerous to bees and should really only be used in emergencies.

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