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Skeleton Flower Care

The Skeleton flower (Diphylleia grayi) also known as the umbrella plant, is a fascinating flora because it beholds one of the most amazing traits. The white petals turn clear (almost transparent) when they come in contact with water. These woodland perennials are a part of the Berberidaceae family.

The skeleton plant care can be tricky to grow and aren’t seen in many common garden setup. But if you provide them with the right conditions, these plants can be a perfect addition to your garden. So, let’s explore what skeleton flowers are and how you can perform the best skeleton flower care.

Plant NameSkeleton flower, Asian umbrella leaf
Scientific NameDiphylleia grayi
Plant FamilyBerberidaceae
Plant TypePerennial, herbaceous
SunlightPartial, full shade
SoilSandy, Loamy
Bloom TimeSummer
Bloom ColorWhite
NativenessAsia (China, Japan, Korea)
Plant CareModerate

What Are Skeleton Flowers?

Skeleton flowers are slow-growing deciduous perennial plants. These flowers are native to the mountainous regions of Japan. Skeleton flowers are a part of the same family as the American Mayapple. These flowers got their name because of their ability to appear almost transparent when the petals are wet.

The bloom time of the Skeleton flower is from May to July and then this plant dies back in winter. The color of the bone-white petals seems to melt due to water.

These plants are also known as the umbrella or the Asian Umbrella Leaf plant because of their natural habitat and the umbrella-shaped green foliage.

Also, read Ornamental Plants.

How To Care For Skeleton Flowers?

skeleton flower

The skeleton flower care is tricky as you need to provide these plants with the same cold conditions as their native habitat. You also need to protect these delicate flowers from strong winds while also keeping the soil consistently moist. As long as you provide the right conditions for these flowers they are easy to maintain.

Let’s have a look at the necessary conditions for skeleton flower care:


Skeleton flower care requires keeping the soil consistently moist. It is recommended to use a drip irrigation system to prevent the wastage of water and keep the soil thoroughly moist. Water the plant slowly and deeply, especially, during dry spells.

Learn more on How To Water Your Plants.


Soil should be consistently moist yet well-drained. Moreover, it should be rich in nutrients and humus. For skeleton flowers, Sandy soil with a good amount of organic matter is recommended. Use compost and mulch to mimic the natural conditions for the plant.

Temperature & Humidity

These plants won’t thrive in hot and dry climates. So, for better skeleton flower care grow these plants in a cool and temperate climate with high humidity. Moreover, you need to protect these plants in freezing conditions as the plant dies back in the winter and reset itself later. Apply a good amount of mulch to prevent the roots from frosting.


Just like their natural habitat, you need to provide these plants shade from too much sunlight. For better skeleton flower care it is recommended to grow these plants in woodlands where they are safe from midday and afternoon sun.


If there is enough organic matter in the soil then you don’t need to fertilize the skeleton flower much. It is recommended to use organic compost but if you can’t provide it to the plant then you can use a complete and dilute fertilizer for skeleton flowers.

Related read – How To Fertilize Plants?

Potting and Repotting:

If you live in a colder climate, you can grow the skeleton flower using a regular potting mix. Use a pot with drainage holes.

However, the plant should be kept outdoors during the growing season and inside in the winter allowing it to go dormant. As spring starts to arrive, slowly increase the watering and let the plants accumulate to the climate before permanently planting them outside.

The skeleton flower is a slow-growing plant therefore, it rarely needs repotting.

How To Grow Skeleton Flower?

From Seeds

Growing the skeleton flower from seeds can be tricky and hard but it is the common way as nursery-grown plants are hard to find. To grow these plants from seeds you need to refrigerate them months before planting as they require cold stratification. Then plant the seeds in trays filled with a starter mix at a shallow depth in late winter. Keep the tray in a bright location but away from the sunlight also keep the tray consistently moist. The germinated seeds can then be transferred to the garden after the threat of frost has passed. Don’t be disappointed as many seeds will not germinate.

You can also plant the seeds directly in the garden and let the winter climate perform the cold stratification.

Read more on Outdoor Plants.


These are the important things that you need to know before planning to grow the skeleton flower. We’ve also discussed the necessary conditions required for better skeleton plant care. So make sure to add these amazing plants to your collection and improve your green thumb.


Q. Is the skeleton flower hard to grow?

Ans. As long as you provide the necessary conditions for the plant to grow and thrive you will not face any difficulties in growing the skeleton flower.

Q. How does the skeleton flower turn clear?

Ans. When the petals of the skeleton flower come in contact with water they turn clear. This happens because the petals are very thin and delicate. As they dry up the petals turn back to the original white color.

Q. How long does the skeleton flower live?

Ans. Skeleton flowers can live for decades. However, these plants are very sensitive to the varying moisture levels. So, you’ll need to maintain and monitor the soil moisture levels.

Q. What are the ideal conditions for the skeleton flower to grow?

Ans. The ideal conditions for the skeleton flower to grow are cold and humid as these plants are native to the mountainous regions of Japan, China, and Korea.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • I never knew about the fascinating trait of skeleton flowers turning transparent when in contact with water. Learning about their native habitat and the ideal growing conditions has inspired me to create a suitable environment for these delicate plants

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