Plant Preview

Welcome to Plant Preview, a blog dedicated to helping gardeners learn about gardening techniques and preview new plant cultivars. Read about new plants here first and hear how your "comrades in compost" are making use of new plant introductions in their gardens and landscapes. Blog author Geri Laufer is a life-long dirt gardener, degreed horticulturist, author and former County Extension Agent. Plant Preview is copyrighted by Geri Laufer.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Native Shade Tree Snow Flurries™ Black Gum Has Variegated Leaves

Attractive white-margined leaves on this native shade tree are unusual.

Anticipating the first flurries this summer! An easy-grow native shade tree, Snow Flurries™ Black Gum has unbeatable green and white summer color, rare in the world of shade trees. Snow Flurries™ has shiny, variegated leaves with generous white margins and green centers and is riveting in the landscape. Garden Debut® expects a blizzard of orders once this extraordinary plant hits the market. Overall, the variegated leaves are narrower and smaller than the species, turning a ruddy color in early autumn.

The tree reaches 30 – 40 feet in height, with gracefully draped lower limbs creating an oval form. This Garden Debut® introduction is easy-care and trouble-free. Snow Flurries™ has clean leaves without leaf spot and with no significant pest problems. Aided by its deep tap root, it is adaptable to an extremely wide variety of soil moisture conditions from poorly drained soils and low spots subject to periodic flooding, through average garden soils, and also on dry sites.

Small flowers are a great nectar source and attract honey bees resulting in prized Black Gum or “Tupelo” honey. Small, dark blue, football-shaped fruits are a favorite of birds and wildlife in August and September, and do not stain decks or paving.  Left, leafing out in early spring. 

Statistics Chart for Snow Flurries Black Gum, Nyssa sylvatica ‘Grechrist’ PPAF
Plant Category:
Native tree, budded cultivar
Mature Height:
Reaches 30 – 40 feet
Mature Spread:
25 - 30 feet
Mature Form:
Lower branches with graceful drape
Growth Rate:
Moderate, faster growth on moist soils
Sun Exposure:
Full sun (recommended)  to part shade
Soil Type:
Loam, Sand, Clay
Soil Moisture:
Native to wet soils; adaptable to periodic flooding; also grows in dry locations; grows readily in a wide variety of soil moisture levels
Flower Color:
Greenish white, insignificant flowers; excellent nectar source for honey bees resulting in prized Black Gum or “Tupelo” honey
Bloom Season:
 April – May
Shiny, medium green leaves with white margins are smaller than the species, 1” wide by  2.5 – 3 “ long
Fall Color:
 Ruddy red
Fruit pods:
Small, Dark Blue Football-shaped Drupe, August to September; does not stain sidewalks; birds and wildlife love them 
 Dark Gray to Brown, Thick, Fissured
Taproot, patented variety is budded onto Black Gum seedling rootstock 
pH Level:
 5 – 8, very adaptable
 4 – 9, wide range
U.S., Greenleaf Nursery Company, Park Hill, OK

When performance counts, use Garden Debut® introductions!

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