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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, March 20, 2012

Evergreen Crown Jewel(R) Gardenia Drenches the Landscape with Fragrance!

                  
Beautiful dwarf flowering broadleaf evergreen provides exquisite fragrance in summer and is the jewel in the crown of the winter landscape. 

Crown Jewel®Gardenia PP19896 is a low-growing, spreading to prostrate gardenia with intensely fragrant, white, medium-sized double flowers beginning in early summer and repeating until frost.  The heavy May flush of blooms is followed by repeat blooming throughout the summer, until fall brings another heavy flush of blooms. Light pruning after the first bloom-period will stimulate even more blossoms. Crown Jewel® Gardenia blooms on both old and new wood, so late frosts will not harm the crop of fragrant white flowers

Highly perfumed Crown Jewel(R) Gardenia is an easy care broadleaf evergreen hybrid in a versatile dwarf size, and requires little if any pruning to stay in shape. This garden jewel grows about 6 inches per year with the potential to reach 2 or 2 ½ feet in height and a spread of 4 to 6 feet wide, ideal for garden beds. The plant is hardy to zone 6 and bright green evergreen foliage is medium to small-sized for the species, with a soft texture overall.  

Crown Jewel® Gardenia is the very best selection from a controlled cross between dwarf ‘Kleim’s Hardy’ (dwarf habit, heavy bloom set) and ‘Chuck Hayes’ (cold-hardiness, twice-blooming, double flowers) by Philip Dark of Oakmont Nursery in Chathem County, North Carolina. Dark is a member of the consortium of growers, breeders, retailers and marketers that make up Garden Debut®, and he reports that cold testing is ongoing in Zone 5.

CrownJewel® Gardenia prefers well drained, moist soil and full sun to partial shade (a bit of afternoon shade is great) and good air circulation. A cooler, woodsy environment protects from the harsh reflective heat of concrete or asphalt. Shelter from cold winter winds helps to prevent tip dieback at the colder edge of the plants’ range. Organic compost is excellent or light applications of commercial azalea fertilizer or diluted acid-forming fertilizers are good, although too much can burn tender roots.

Among its many landscape uses, Crown Jewel® Gardenia is perfect as a specimen adding color, fragrance, form and texture, a low accent plant in the garden; for winter interest; or as part of mass plantings. It is an excellent evergreen plant for containers where the fragrance can be enjoyed on decks and patios. While cold-climate gardeners must over-winter their gardenias indoors (can be grown as a houseplant or a patio plant moved indoors in winter), in U.S.D.A. Climate Zones 6 and warmer, gardenias are grown outdoors, permeating the garden with fragrance. (Testing in Zone 5 is ongoing.) 

This genus is native to the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, southern Asia, Australasia and Oceana. Gardenias are easily grown in the southeastern U.S. because they demand high humidity and rich, acidic soils to thrive. 

Statistics Chart for Crown Jewel® Gardenia, PP19896 Gardenia augusta ‘Crown Jewel’
Plant Category:
 Spreading broadleaf evergreen shrub
Mature Height:
 2 – 2 ½  feet in 10 years
Mature Spread:
 3-5 feet, ideal for garden beds
Mature Form:
 Low-growing, spreading to prostrate shrub  
Branching:
 Twiggy growth hidden by shiny dark green leaves, tight brown bark
Growth Rate:
 Naturally dwarf variety, 6 inches per year to 2 feet
Sun Exposure:
Partial or dappled sun (recommended), will tolerate either full sun or light shade
Soil Type:
 Prefers rich, deep, well-drained, slightly acidic soils with a good moisture supply
Soil Moisture:
Best on moist, well-drained soils rich in organic matter. Follow a regular watering schedule during the first growing season while plants are getting established to promote a deep, extensive root system. Keep roots cool with a thick layer of organic mulch.
Flowers:
Fully double, medium-sized, waxy white flowers, measuring 2-3 inches in diameter begin in early June with heavy bloom, and flower throughout the summer until frost. Flowers perfume the landscape with a sweet fragrance.
Crown Jewel® is a cross between Kleim's Hardy Gardenia (dwarf,  heavy bloom set) and Chuck Hayes Gardenia (cold hardiness, double flowers, double bloom season)
               Fragrance: 
 Most outstanding characteristic of the Gardenia: the intense fragrance; flower scent is sweet, sweet, sweet! and surprisingly strong;
The natural fragrance of gardenia cannot be distillated and in perfumery, fragrances of orangeblossom, jasmine and tuberose are substituted for gardenia.
Foliage:
 Broadleaf evergreen shrub with beautiful, shiny, deep green, oval leaves that contrast sharply with classic white gardenia flowers. Gardenia maintains beautiful, deep, rich green coloring all year long, foliage during winter
Landscape Uses:
 Place near door, courtyard, patio, gate or entrance, in garden beds, along walkways or in containers on the deck, where handsome foliage and fragrant flowers may be enjoyed at close range. 
Landscape uses include specimen, groundcover, border, container, woodland, cut flowers or indoor plant
Fragrant flowers with thick white petals are traditional for corsages or hair ornaments, for cutting, to float in a bowl of water on the dining table.
Bring into the greenhouse or home during winters in cold weather zones
Floral Symbolism:
Gardenias symbolize purity and sweetness. They indicate secret love. They convey joy. They tell the recipient "you are lovely" 
Root system :
 Vigorous once established, with a moderate salinity tolerance
pH Level:
 5 – 6.5, best on rich, deep, well-drained slightly acidic soils
Climate Zones:
 6 – 11 (winter lows 0 degrees F.  to above 40 degrees F.) (Zone 5 testing is ongoing)
Heredity:
 U.S., Philip Dark of Oakmont Nursery, Chathem County, NC

                         Garden Debut® great new plants!





Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Wine Spritzer™ Beautyberry is the Toast of the Town


With its distinctive variegation, landscapers are clinking wine glasses over this beautiful new shrub. 

Wine Spritzer™ Beautyberry is the spectacular new variegated beautyberry with dazzling leaves that are heavily speckled and splashed with green and cream on wine-colored stems.  Beautyberry has rough or coarse leaves and rough stems similar to its close relative Lantana, also in the Verbena Family. In the case of Wine Spritzer™ the large leaves are almost white with green speckles and are the ornamental feature of this new introduction. The leaves look like they have been heavily painted or “spritzed” and in autumn the cream and green leaves turn yellow and green.

Slender branches arch gracefully on this Asian beauty and in summer tiny, pollen-laden, pink to pale-lavender flowers appear in the axils of the opposite leaves, appealing to butterflies and bees. Wine Spritzer™ is not a prolific bloomer or fruit setter. The foliage carries the full burden of beauty and interest, and it does it very well indeed. When berries do appear, they persist as a late-season fruiting food source for birds after other berries are gone. Mature berries are not damaged by frost.  

This moderate to vigorous growing shrub matures at 5-6 feet tall with a slightly larger spread. Wine Spritzer™ is cold hardy to USDA Zones 5-8, since the species is more cold tolerant than species native to the southeastern U.S. WineSpritzer™ Beautyberry prefers well-drained soil, and color is terrific in sun to partial shade.

Use Wine Spritzer™ by Garden Debut(R) as a specimen in the landscape for the outstanding variegated leaves, also perfect for mass plantings or screens. Multiple plants in close proximity will boost berry production. Shrub size can be controlled with yearly pruning in late winter; The Manuel of Woody Landscape Plants recommends cutting beautyberry to the ground before growth begins to take full advantage of vigorous leaves on new growth.

An interesting but little-known fact about beautyberry; modern research by Ag Research Services of the U.S.D.A. has substantiated the “old mouse’s tale” that rubbing beautyberry leaves on human skin or on animals is an effective repellent against mosquitoes and ticks.  

For more information on Wine Spritzer™ Callicarpa and other superior plant introductions from GardenDebut® brought to gardeners by Greenleaf Nursery Company, visit www.greenleafnursery.com.     

Statistics Chart for Wine Spritzer(TM) Beautyberry PPAF, Callicarpa dichotoma 'Shija Murasaki'. 
Plant Category:
Coarse textured, deciduous shrub
Mature Height:
 4-5 feet;  if cut to the ground each winter (to promote  large leaves on new growth), then shrub may not reach full height
Mature Spread:
 4-5 feet
Mature Form:
  Rounded
Branches:
 Rough, but does not carry spines or thorns
Growth Rate:
 Vigorous  
Sun Exposure:
Versatile; direct sun to partial shade
Full sun (recommended) will bring out the strongest 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:
Pink or light lavender in leaf axils; attracts bees and butterflies
Native:
 Native to China
Foliage:
 Papery thin
Fruit:
 This variegated cultivar fruits sparsely; increase fruit production by planting multiple plants together
Fall Color:
  Variegation stays true until leaves drop
Landscape Uses:
 Wine Spritzer 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, with a moderate salinity tolerance
pH Level:
 6.0 – 7.5 neutral to slightly acid soils
Climate Zones:
 6-9 (winter lows  -10 degrees F.)  
Heredity:
 Japan, cultivar introduced by Southern Plant Group, Atlanta, GA

Garden Debut® great new plants!





Fragrant, Long-blooming, Asian Moon Butterfly Bush is Sterile


Doesn't set seeds, so flowers keep on blooming Spring-through-Fall for butterflies and hummingbirds. 

Looking for a way to invite butterflies and hummingbirds into the garden? Fragrant yet tough Asian Moon Butterfly Bush is a classic summer-flowering shrub (sometimes called summer lilac) that begins flowering in June and continues in profusion through late fall. Tiny, bright lavender tubular flowers have orange throughs and are clustered on upright panicles that are held out like candles all over the shrub. 

The flowers are very attractive to butterflies, bees, hummingbirds and other nectar drinkers, outcompeting most native plants, and are a keystone of the butterfly garden. Long, narrow leaves (6 inches long by 1 1/2 inches wide) are finely toothed along the edges and gray-green above, with silver undersides; the shrub is coarse in texture overall.  

Originator Jon Lindstrom of the University of Arkansas is a member of the Garden Debut(R) consortium of breeders, growers, retailers and marketers. His Asian Moon Buddleia is a large, symmetrical shrub that can reach 7 feet, but is easily cut back to maintain size and promote reblooming on new wood. Asian Moon's special advantage is its sterile flowers that do not set seed, a great alternative for U.S. gardeners in parts of the U.S. that have prohibited fertile Buddlieas. The sterile flowers have a prolonged bloom period compared to fertile varieties, a gardening bonus! 

Like the rest of its tribe, Asian Moon Buddleia is a fast growing deciduous shrub that will require some pruning each spring to keep it fresh.It is best kept within bounds by coppicing or cutting to the ground in late winter, while in late July cutting the shrub back by half will control size and encourage heavy reblooming. Also like other members of the genus, Asian Moon is nearly indestructible, adaptable to gardens from Boston to Florida (USDA Zones 5-9). Consider Asian Moon Butterfly Bush as an easy-care selection that provides plenty of garden color and fragrance in full sun.  

Useful in the landscape for summer bloom and to attract butterflies, used in masses, not as a specimen, can be treated as a herbaceous perennial to give height in the mixed border, or underplanted with low perennials. 

For more information on Asian Moon Butterfly Bush and other superior plant introductions from GardenDebut® brought to gardeners by Greenleaf Nursery Company, visit www.greenleafnursery.com.  
                   
Statistics Chart for Asian Moon Butterfly Bush, Buddleia davidii cv. Asian Moon.
Plant Category:
Deciduous woody shrub
Mature Height:
Reaches 7 feet, can be cut back to 3 feet in mid-summer or to the ground in late-winter
Mature Spread:
 Symmetrical shrub about 6 feet wide
Mature Form:
 Upright, with upright panicles like candles covering the shrub
Stems:
 Squarish stems, bark light gray- brown with orange streaks, exfoliates slightly with vertical shreds
Growth Rate:
 Rapid
Sun Exposure:
Full sun is recommended, will tolerate a little light shade
Soil Type:
Clay, silt, sand; very adaptable  
Soil Moisture:
Adaptable, semi-arid to moist; will withstand dry soils once established
Flowers:
Tiny, individual purple or orchid tubular flowers with orange throats clustered on upright panicles, attractive to nectar feeders, very fragrant
Native:
 Native to China
Foliage:
 Coarse texture, narrow leaves about 6 inches long x 1 ½ inches wide, opposite arrangement along an angled stem
Foliage Color:
Dark green above, silvery glaucous beneath
Fall Color:
 Negligible
Bark:
 Light brown and brittle, with orange streaks 
Tolerant:
 Tolerant of deer and drought
pH Level:
 5.5 – 7, very adaptable
Climate Zones:
 U.S.D.A. Zones 5-10 , (winter lows  -10 to 0 degrees F.) Can sometimes die back to ground in colder climates, and resprout, reaching 7 feet in one season.
Heredity:
 U.S., Dr. Jon Linstrom, University of Arkansas
 Garden Debut® great new plants!