Bedding plants

Plant, care for and multiply Winterling


Winterlings ring the end of winter together with other early bloomers. We show them what you need to consider when planting and caring for them.

© Marc /

After a long winter there is a longing for a first splash of color in the garden. Winterling (Eranthis hyemalis) appears as one of the first signs of spring. The buttercup plant is not impressed by the cool temperatures in harsh February and spreads its yellow flower carpets over beds and lawns.

The plant is particularly easy to care for and undemanding. While tulips or daffodils are still a few weeks away, the robust winter aconite already has temperatures just above freezing to please our eyes.


  • 1 Small plant description
    • 1.1 Occurrence and use
  • Plant 2 winter aconite
    • 2.1 Find a suitable location
    • 2.2 Select the ideal substrate
    • 2.3 Plant Winterling - step by step
    • 2.4 An overview of the most important planting tips
  • 3 Caring for winter aconite
    • 3.1 Water winterling correctly
    • 3.2 Fertilize the winterling properly
    • 3.3 Does the winter aconate need to be cut?
    • 3.4 An overview of the most important care tips
  • 4 Winterling multiply
    • 4.1 Multiplication by division
    • 4.2 Propagation by seeds
  • 5 diseases and pests on winterlings
  • 6 What should you watch out for during the winter?
  • 7 Is the winter aconite poisonous?

Small plant description

Winterlings are perennial herbaceous plants that grow between five and ten centimeters in height. In winter, the plants withdraw into their round bulbs and reliably sprout again in late winter.

The yellow flowers appear on the thick greenish to brownish stems between February and March. Since winter aconites multiply themselves, large carpets of flowers are not uncommon. These not only delight us humans, but also attract the first insects.

Winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis)
Height:8-10 cm
Planting distance:3 - 5 cm
Bloom:February to March
Lifespan:perennial, hardy
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Occurrence and use

The winterling originally comes from southern France, Italy, Turkey and Hungary. The plant is mainly found in vineyards and on damp forest soils. In our latitudes, the easy-care early bloomers have been naturalized since the 16th century.

In part, the winterling can already be found wild in Central Europe. Larger stocks can be found in Thuringia and Baden-Württemberg. Smaller stocks occur between the Rhineland and Saxony.

The first winterling in Germany was a souvenir from the botanist Joachim Camerarius' trip to Italy. The plant was planted in a Nuremberg garden in 1588. Three centuries later, the flower carpets in the landscape parks drew visitors' attention. The winter aconite is used exclusively as an ornamental plant and planted on meadows or in parks.

Plant winter aconite

Find the right location

The choice of location is crucial for the winter habit to thrive and bloom. The plants do not feel comfortable in the blazing sun. A partially shaded and wind-protected area of ​​the garden is much more suitable. Winterlings are very good for planting hedges or deciduous trees.

Tip: Winterlings are less suitable for planting under conifers. The substrate would be too acidic for the plants.

During the growing season, the winter aconite needs a few hours of sunlight a day. If the plant has drawn in its leaves and flowers in early summer, the location can theoretically also be in the shade.

Choose the ideal substrate

© Fotolyse /

A fresh and well-drained soil offers the winterling the best growing conditions. A heavy clay soil is less suitable. The plants prefer a nutrient-rich soil with a corresponding lime content. The substrate can be made more permeable by adding sand or gravel. Winterling does not tolerate waterlogging.

Tip: If the plant shows itself to be rotten at first, there is probably no mistake by the hobby gardener. Winterlings often only bloom in the second year after planting.

Plant winterling - step by step

1. Select location
2. Prepare the soil
3. Water the tuber
4. Dig out the planting hole
5. Upgrade the floor
6. Plant the bulb
7. Close the planting hole
8. Pour in the tubers

The best time to plant winter aconite is early autumn. Once the location has been found and weeds, stones and roots have been removed from the substrate, the planting holes can be dug. There should be a gap of about five centimeters between the individual tubers.

Tip: The tubers dry out quickly. Before planting, the tubers should be watered overnight.

The potting soil should be mixed with compost or leaf soil. Sand is added to heavy soils. The tubers are placed about six centimeters deep in the earth and covered with substrate.

Group planting is particularly attractive. Hobby gardeners will also find suitable bed neighbors in crocuses, snowdrops, checkered flowers or wood anemones and can look forward to an early spring mood in the allotment garden.

An overview of the most important planting tips

Choose location
  • penumbra
  • protected
  • Under planting of deciduous trees
Prepare the soil
  • fresh
  • wet
  • nutritious
  • humos
  • calcareous
Make planting
  • Fall planting
  • Water tubers
  • Plant about six centimeters deep

Care for winterlings

Water winterling properly

To water the winterling properly requires a little tact. Watering should be started on frost-free days and, if possible, before budding. It should be watered regularly. The winterling cannot cope with the persistent drought. However, the early bloomer does not like waterlogging either.

Tip: A permeable bottom prevents the liquid from jamming.

Fertilize Winterling properly

Winterlings thrive reliably on any garden floor. The plants have no objection to a dose of compost. However, this cannot be worked into the soil as usual, because the bulbs do not have the necessary depth and could be torn from the ground.

Alternatively, the natural fertilizer is spread superficially around the plants. Adequate fertilization must be ensured during planting. Once the planting hole has been excavated, the excavation can be mixed with compost or horn shavings and the winterling is sufficiently supplied with nutrients throughout its first year of use.

Does the winter acne need to be cut?

The scissors do not have to be used with the Winterling. After the flowering period has ended, the plants begin to withdraw completely into their bulbs. The early bloomer will no longer be visible in summer.

Attention: Do not cut withered flowers and leaves. The winterling's rhizome draws its nutrients from it.

The most important care tips at a glance

to water
  • water regularly
  • Avoid waterlogging
  • Compost when planting
  • Material cannot be worked into the floor later
To cut
  • no cut necessary
  • Plant is completely absorbed into the soil

Increase Winterling

The winterlings predominantly do their own multiplication. The self-multiplication by seeds quickly creates lush carpets of flowers.

Tip: If you want to prevent self-propagation, use sterile varieties.

If the hobby gardener wants to lend a hand himself, multiplication by division and sowing is possible.

Multiplication by division

1. Lift plants from the ground.
2. Shake off the earth
3. Cut the root ball
4. Dig out planting holes
5. Transplant rhizome pieces again

If the winterling has already developed well and spread in the bed, this type of propagation can be considered. After the flowering period, individual tubers are cut out. The root ball can, depending on its size, be divided into several roughly fist-sized pieces. Then new planting holes are dug and the sections of the rhizome are placed separately in a new location.

Propagation by seeds

1. Obtain seeds
2. Work the soil
3. Spread the seeds
4. Slightly work in the seeds
5. Water the seeds
6. Wait for germination

If you already have winterlings, you can easily get the seeds yourself. Otherwise friends or neighbors will surely be happy to step in.

Towards the end of the flowering period, around March, small, star-shaped follicles appear. The seeds will be released by the end of April. If a location is found for sowing, the soil is loosened up and finely crumbled. The seeds are spread over a large area.

Attention: Winterlings are light germs. The seeds are therefore not covered with earth.

The seeds can easily be raked into the ground. So that the granules are not washed away, a fine spray should be used for the subsequent irrigation.

Tip: If a close-meshed network is stretched over the seeds, cats and birds are deterred and pests also stay away from the seeds.

Diseases and pests on the winter aconite

Voles love the bulbs of winterlings - © Bernd Wolter / The plants are robust and hardly affected by diseases. However, the tubers are among the favorite foods of voles. Vole baskets protect against infestation. This must be taken into account when planting.

The specialist trade offers these tight wire meshes and resourceful do-it-yourselfers quickly constructed them themselves. The planting holes have to be dug significantly deeper if the vole basket is to be used. About 15 centimeters can be assumed. The vole basket is inserted into the pit. A layer of sand about two centimeters thick is filled in. Then layer the excavation in and plant the tubers as described.

Tip: Vulture baskets do not need a top closure because the pests do not penetrate to the surface.

What should you watch out for during the winter?

Winterlings are absolutely hardy outdoors and do not need any additional protection. The plant retreats completely into its rhizome and is therefore not exposed to frost and cold above ground.

Anyone who has planted winterlings in the bucket should spend the winter in a cool and protected place in the house. When the first leaves appear in late winter, the planter can go back outdoors.

Is the winter aconite poisonous?

The tubers of winterlings are very toxic to humans. Gloves should therefore always be worn when planting. Poisoning causes nausea, visual disturbances, heart weakness and shortness of breath. In extreme cases, cardiac arrest can occur.