Pasque Flower – March Plant of the Month

Pasque flower is our first Plant of the Month for 2023. A new year and a new set of plant of the month species. It can be very difficult to find suitable plants for our early months, especially for March. There just is not much blooming, anywhere. However, I can always count on my pasque flowers to bloom early in the garden. The name pasqueflower comes from the Hebrew Passover, because the flowers bloom around Easter.

There are 150 species worldwide, from the prairies of North America, Asia, and meadows of Europe. In the United States, we have 25 species of this early blooming wildflower. Pasque flower is in the Buttercup Family, along with Clematis, columbine, and of course, buttercups. Here in the Central Great Plains region, we have one common variety, Pulsatilla patens var. multifida, also known as prairie crocus.

In the Garden

What is found at most garden centers, and indeed, in my garden, is Pulsatilla vulgaris, European pasque flower. There are a number of cultivars available, with varying flower colors. Purple is the most common, but there are also pink, white, and red. The red is the most striking in an early spring flower.

Pasque flower prefers full to part sun, with at least 4 hours of direct sun daily. It is hardy in Zones 4 to 8, while other members of the species are hardy nearly to Zone 1, by the Arctic Circle. The leaves are feathery, and remind me of carrots, though very hairy and soft. The mound of leaves in my garden each spring always surprises me. Though not as much as the early blooming flowers.

The feather seedheads which follow the bright flowers resemble those of the clematis, looking kind of like fiber-optic balls on stems. They can be quite ornamental. Plants themselves grow 10 to 12 inches tall and wide, and the flower stalks are 6 to 10 inches long.

Where to Plant

I like to have smaller, short plants in the front of the bed, as border plants. Pasque flower is great in rock gardens, borders, and the front of butterfly gardens. It can also be mixed into a meadow or prairie garden. When planting in the border, pair it with ornamental onion, dianthus, soapwort, and snow-in-summer.

pasque flower attributes

Insect Associations

While I could not find any specific insects which feed on pasque flower in the wild or in gardens, a number of early foraging bees use the pollen and nectar. Several bumblebees, miner bees, and honeybees are visitors on the early flowers. I would imagine that butterflies and moths which overwinter as adults would also find the flowers beneficial.


While there are not a lot of choices for early-blooming perennials in March, pasque flower is one of the nicest and prettiest early flowers. Add them to the border or directly into the meadow garden, and be happy in knowing that you have added fuel to early season pollination.

Happy planting!

author of pasque flower

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