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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.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Fire Master™ Black Gum PPAF thrives anywhere it’s planted



The perfect choice for a slow-growing native shade tree that is master of the autumn countryside, an ideal solution to landscape challenge areas and recommended as a long-lived commemorative tree.

Fire Master(TM) Black Gum is an easy care native shade tree introduced by Garden Debut(R) in late 2010 with exceptional coloration. In the wild, Black Gum (also known as Tupelo) grows across the entire eastern half of North America, but at low densities of 1 to 3 percent in native forests. Nyssa is one of the few species that is both fire resistant and shade tolerant, and both young and old trees show excellent growth even under dense shade, indicated by the species name, sylvatica, meaning woods. 



Landscape architects note that Black Gum grows in conditions that range from flooding to drought, and can grow on almost any type of soil or site, from swamps, floodplains and bottomlands to xeric sites, uplands and dry ridges. Nyssa is slow-growing which may explain its great longevity, being the longest-lived hardwood in the Eastern U.S. with a mininum age topping 650 years. 


With a pedigree like that, Fire Master(TM) Black Gum PPAF is the first choice for a slow-growing shade tree for any type of difficult landscape situation. And what's more, it adds show-stopping color to the canopy with new spring growth ranging from soft, dusty pink to red and lime, then maturing to shiny, dark green summer leaves. In fall, the foliage turns many shades of yellow, orange and reaches a firey climax of brilliant, Chinese-lacquer red on high-gloss leaves. Even the petioles and veins are red. 


This slow-growing, pyramidal tree matures at a height around 50 - 60 feet tall and spreading to about 25 feet wide after 40 - 50 years, a great size for many urban yards, ideal in scale, without towering over one- and two- story homes. 


For added horticultural interest, Fire Master(TM) Black Gum sports small, greenish white blossoms in spring, the source of nectar and pollen for Tupelo honey, followed by 1/2 inch ong purple-black fruits that resemble tiny prune plums with a waxy bloom. These are quickly eaten by birds and wildlife when they ripen in September (before other wild native fruits are ready), yet do not stain driveways nor decks. Its bark matures to medium gray and resembles textured alligator hide. Fire Master(TM) Black Gum is relatively immune to insects and diseases. 


Landscape uses for Fire Master(TM) Black Gum include: specimen use adding color, form and texture; as a shade tree; commemorative tree; planted at the sunny edge of woodlands; planted in the dense shade of trees or buildings; or selected for landscape problem areas such as wet, sticky soils or dry, parched ridges. Reduced maintenance required by this native cultivar syncs with faster contemporary lifestyles and the demand for lowered maintenance. Fire Master(TM) Black Gum was selected for resistance to insects and diseases, as well as for improved hardiness and general ease of transplanting and growth. 


The best color is produced in full sun, but Fire Master(TM) Black Gum also tolerates dense shade and will grow on a broad variety of soil types, so it solves many "problem areas" in landscape design. And because Fire Master(TM) Black Gum is so long-lived, it is the ideal dedication or legacy tree planted to commemorate happy occasions. Its versatility makes it an ideal commemorative tree to plant to recognize milestones in life.  


Keep newly planted trees moist for the season after planting while the roots grow into the native soil, and add an organic mulch to maintain soil moisture levels. After becoming established, Fire Master(TM) Black Gum has carefree watering needs. 


For more information on Fire Master™ Black Gum and other superior plant introductions from Garden Debut® brought to gardeners by Greenleaf Nursery Company. 

Plant Category:
Native deciduous tree
Mature Height:
Reaches 50-60 feet in 40-50 years
Mature Spread:
25 feet wide
Mature Form:
 Broadly pyramidal
Branching:
 Strong
Growth Rate:
 Naturally slow-growing variety
Sun Exposure:
Full sun to dense shade, and all the permutations between
Soil Type:
 Sand, loam, clay, red brickyard clays of the southeast U.S. very adaptable
Soil Moisture:
Thrives anywhere, from floodplains, bottom lands to dry ridges and west-facing rocky slopes
Fruit:
 ½ inch, oval, purple drupes, resembles prune plums in miniature, with waxy bloom
Native:
 Native to Eastern North America
Foliage Color:
 Red new growth in spring; rich, shiny green summer foliage; brilliant colors climaxing in fiery Chinese-lacquer red fall color, red veins, red petioles
Foliage Shape:
Ovoid
Fall Color:
 Fiery, Chinese- lacquer red fall color
Bark:
 Tight grey bark
Root system :
 Vigorous once established, with admirable tolerance for any soil moisture type
pH Level:
 4 – 8, very adaptable
Climate Zones:
 4 – 9, (winter lows  of -20 to -30 degrees F. to +10 degrees F.)

Heredity:
 U.S.

When performance counts, use Garden Debut® introductions!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Insights About Tough and Beautiful New Garnet Fire Loropetalum


New to the trade, retailers and landscapers are fired with enthusiasm about this tough and beautiful red-leaved shrub. 


Named for the brilliant deep red gemstone, Garnet Fire(TM) Loropetalum is an ideally-sized evergreen shrub due to its outstanding, shiny, dark burgundy foliage. Colorful deep maroon-red leaves persist throughout the year in zones 7-11, and add a blaze of color to the winter landscape. 

Known as Chinese Fringe Flower, hundreds of garnet-red, tassel-like flowers with narrow, fringe-like petals envelop the plant in late winter through spring. Individual flowers persist for weeks thus keeping the plant in bloom for months and beginning with sporadic flowering the previous fall. Honey bees appreciate the early pollen source and the flowers attract butterflies. Other common names for the genus Loropetalum include Chinese Loropetalum, Fringebush and Chinese Witch Hazel. Garnet Fire™ is a seedling selection of Loropetalum chinense 'Zuzhou Fuschia' originated by Ted Stephens who is a member of the Garden Debut(R) consortium of breeders, growers, retailers and marketers.  

The multi-faceted, luminous shrub reaches a useful 4-5 feet in height and tolerates direct sun to part shade for versatile landscape placement. Use Garnet Fire (TM) as a specimen or accent plant, in the border, in front of the foundation plantings, as a container plant, for massing or as a screen. It is striking when planted next to pastel flowers, or beside yellow- or silvery- blue foliage that emphasize the burgundy foliage. Garnet Fire (TM) Loropetalum is a a tough plant that tolerates heat, humidity, deer, rabbits and slopes. 

Traditionally, garnets were popular as a talisman and protective stone believed to light up the night and protect their bearers from harm. Like its namesake, Garnet Fire(TM) Loropetalum lights up the garden and protects the landscape from the monotony of too many green shrubs. Anyone who loves what is pure, natural and having the deep color of garnets will be fired with enthusiasm for Garnet Fire(TM) Loropetalum. 

Statistics Chart for Garnet Fire™ Loropetalum, Loropetalum chinense var. rubrum  ‘Garnet Fire’ PPAF
Plant Category:
finely textured, broad leaf evergreen shrub
Mature Height:
 5-7 feet, or easily kept smaller with judicious pruning
Mature Spread:
 4-6 feet
Mature Form:
Rounded oval
Branching:
 Branches arranged in layers
Growth Rate:
 Moderate
Sun Exposure:
Versatile, direct sun to partial shade; Full sun (recommended) will bring out the stongest color, but light shade will help with drought resistance
Soil Type:
Sand, loam, clay; very adaptable  
Soil Moisture:
Well-drained soils, dry to average, drought resistant once established
Flowers:
Garnet-red tassel flowers with fringe-like petals
Native origin:
 Native to China and Japan
Foliage:
 Evergreen shrub with dark maroon-red, burgundy leaves year round; beautiful, deep, rich maroon red coloring all year long
Fruit:
 Inconspicuous black fruit in summer
Fall Color:
 Leaves remain that gorgeous dark burgundy throughout fall and year-round.
Landscape Uses:
Garnet Fire(TM) Loropetalum is a tough plant that tolerates heat, humidity, deer, rabbits and slopes; use as specimen or accent plant, border, in front of the foundation planting, container, massing, screening, and striking when planted next to pastel flowers or yellow- or silvery- blue foliage plants to contrast with the burgundy foliage.
Root system :
 Vigorous once established
pH Level:
 6.0 – 7.5  Garnet Fire™ does not appear to be very pH sensitive
Climate Zones:
 7 – 11, versatile and adds evergreen color across much of the U.S.
Heredity:
 Ted Stephens, Nurseries Caroliniana in North Augusta, South Carolina

Garden Debut® great new plants
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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Dwarf Giokumo Cryptomeria Provides Year-Round Interest

Beautiful dwarf conifer provides elegant backdrop in summer and anchors the winter landscape. 

Giokumo Cryptomeria is an easy care evergreen dwarf Cryptomeria japonica selection with year-round interest introduced by Garden Debut(R) in late 2011. This compact, densely pyramidal Japanese Cedar has a vigorous growth rate. Early growth rate. Early growth in the first 3-4 years is mounding and spreading, but it matures at a height between 8-10 feet tall and about 6-8 feet wide after 20-30 years. For added interest, Giokumo sports persistent, cinnamon-colored decorative female cones about 3/4 inch long. 

This pyramidal dwarf conifer has a stout trunk and is graceful in habit in exposed areas of U.S. D.A Zones 6-9 (-10 degrees to 0 degrees F.), Giokumo exhibits a coppery or bronzy winter color, particularly if exposed to wind. 

Giokumo Cryptomeria has beautiful, deep green coloration and 3/8 inch long, spirally-arranged awl shaped needles that curve inward. Numerous flexible branchlets are green and thickly covered with these short, spiraling needles, creating a thick, dense habit. Branchlets are eventually deciduous, typically lasting 3-4 years. 

This genus is native to Japan and China although it is classified in the Taxodiacead with the bald cypress and redwoods of North America. Landscape uses for Giokumo include: specimen use adding color, form, texture, winter interest, adds height to a mixed border, use on seacoasts, as a privacy screen or backdrop for perennial or rose gardens or contrasting seasonal shrubs, planted in small groves and/or planted at the sunny edge of woodlands. Best in full sun, it will tolerate light shade in a location sheltered from high winds. Achieve maximum growth on rich, deep, permeable, average to slightly acidic, well-drained soils with abundant moisture, although Giokumo will grow on a broad variety of soil types. Keep newly planted trees moist throughout the season after planting, while the roots grow into the native soil and add an organic mulch to maintain soil moisture levels.  After becoming established, Giokumo Cryptomeria has average watering needs. 

The beauty of the dwarf conifer is its versatility in the modern landscape. Giokumo is ideal in scale and provides horticultural interest for today’s gardens Reduced maintenance required by this dwarf cultivar syncs with faster contemporary lifestyles. Giokumo has great resistance to insects and diseases, as well as improved hardiness and general ease of growth.





Statistics Chart for Giokumo Cryptomeria, Cryptomeria japonica cv. Giokumo
Plant Category:
Native deciduous tree, conifer
Mature Height:
Reaches 8 – 10 feet in 10 years
Mature Spread:
 5 - 10 feet
Mature Form:
 Broadly pyramidal
Branching:
 Dense with green branchlets, covered with short, spiraling awl-shaped needles
Growth Rate:
 Naturally dwarf variety, vigorous growth to predetermined max
Sun Exposure:
Full sun (recommended), will tolerate light shade
Soil Type:
 Prefers rich, deep, well-drained soils with a good moisture supply; adaptable and will tolerate red brickyard clays of the southeast U.S.  
Soil Moisture:
Best on moist, well-drained soils, use organic mulch and supply regular moisture during the first season while new plantings are getting established
Cones:
Conspicuous, small, brown, ½ inch male and female cones that persist   
Native:
 Native to China and Japan
Foliage:
 Evergreen conifer with 4-angled, awl-shaped, 3/8 inch needles arranged in a spiral on flexible branchlets. Overall, the foliage is dense and has been described as “meaty”
Foliage Color:
Beautiful, deep, rich green coloring all year long, with a coppery or bronzy winter color in exposed areas
Fall Color:
 Leaves turn copper or bronze color in winter, particularly if exposed to strong wind
Bark:
 Beautiful cinnamon-colored bark is thin and peels in narrow vertical strips
Root system :
 Vigorous once established, with a moderate salinity tolerance
pH Level:
 5 – 8, very adaptable
Climate Zones:
 6a – 9, (winter lows  -10 to 0 degrees F.)
Heredity:
 U.S.

Garden Debut® great new plants!





Monday, February 13, 2012

Dwarf Columnar Urban(TM) Apple Trees


Blushing Delight™, Golden Treat™, Tasty Red™ and Tangy Green™, yield good taste in a square foot!

Edible gardening is taking the forefront as the locally-grown food movement gains ground, and more and more gardeners are finding success harvesting their own crops. Enter Urban™ Columnar Apples by Garden Debut®, new introductions that yield great tasting apples in a tiny space. Now it’s easy to produce delicious, full-sized apples on slender, vertical trees that grow in large pots on sunny decks or balconies.

Urban™ Columnar Apple trees are loaded with fruiting spurs along the main leader, and branches are short and upright, producing straight, upright-growing, cylindrical apple trees. Plant Urban™ Columnar Apples in the ground, or transplant to large containers coordinated with home and architecture and enjoy moving them around as desired.

Romantic apple blossoms in spring will enchant homeowners, apartment dwellers, condo owners, suburbanites and those short on space. Urban™ apple trees mature at 8 to 10 feet tall but less than two feet in diameter (!) , and are extremely healthy and disease resistant. When grown in full sun expect full-sized fruit the first year from planting, so long as there are two or more varieties for cross pollination. As trees mature, the yield of apples will increase. Be sure to maintain fertility levels for good growth and yields.

The Urban™ Columnar Apple Series was developed by Dr. Jaroslav Tupy of the Czech Republic, a member of the Garden Debut® consortium of growers, breeders, retailers and marketers. Tupy’s choice of four varieties ensures a wide selection of flavor, plus good cross-pollination and fruit set:  

Tasty Red™ is a bright red apple with a sweet, juicy flavor
Blushing Delight™ produces a blush of reddish green fruit with a slightly sweeter taste
Golden Treat™ greenish-gold apples are tart in early fall, but get sweeter the longer they are on the tree
Tangy Green™ lime green apples add a crisp, tart flavor to the series

Harvest tasty fruit within easy reach of the patio table, or host a pick-your-own on the porch and watch heads turn. Try Urban™ Columnar Apples in large tubs flanking the entrance or plant alongside a border or fence to add value. The impact of a loaded apple tree in a tiny space is irresistible.






<-- Blushing Delight™

Statistics Chart for Urban™ Columnar Apple Series:  
Tasty Red(TM) Dwarf Columnar Urban(TM) Apple Malus 'UEB 3449-1'
Blushing Delight(TM) Dwarf Columnar Urban(TM) Apple Malus 'UEB 3727-4'
Golden Treat(TM) Dwarf Columnar Urban(TM) Apple Malus 'UEB 3358-3
Tangy Green(TM) Dwarf Columnar Urban(TM) Apple Malus 'UEB 3812-2'
Plant Category:
 Deciduous flowering fruit trees
Mature Height:
 8 to 10  feet
Mature Spread:
 1 ½ to 2 feet
Mature Form:
 Extremely narrow, columnar form with multiple fruiting spurs on central leader
Growth Rate:
Vigorous
Sun Exposure:
 Best grown in full sun
Soil Type:
 Garden loam, amended clay, soil-less potting mixes with good fertility
Soil Moisture:
 Moist, well-drained soils
Chilling Requirement:
 800 – 1200 hours for good bud set (number of hours the tempereature is below 45 degrees F. but above 32 degrees F.)   
Flower Color:
 Romantic pink and white apple blossoms on bare branches in early  spring
Fruit Set and Yield:
 Two varieties are required for cross-pollination and good fruit set: expect full-sized fruit from the first year
Fruit:
 Four varieties in the  Urban™ Apple Series provide a wide choice of taste and color on full-sized apples:
Tasty Red(TM) Dwarf Columnar Urban(TM) Apple Malus 'UEB 3449-1'
Blushing Delight(TM) Dwarf Columnar Urban(TM) Apple Malus 'UEB 3727-4'
Golden Treat(TM) Dwarf Columnar Urban(TM) Apple Malus 'UEB 3358-3
Tangy Green(TM) Dwarf Columnar Urban(TM) Apple Malus 'UEB 3812-2'

Summer Color:
Apple green leaf color   
Fall Color:
 Negligible
pH Level:
 5.5 – 7.5
Zones:
4 – 9  (-30 degrees F or 23 Degrees C), well suited for most of the continental U.S.
Heredity:
Developed by Dr. Jaroslav Tupy, Czech Republic for Garden Debut®
                                                           
When performance counts, use Garden Debut® introductions
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