Crimson queen or red dragon

monkeybutt8(z7OK)March 26, 2007

Would someone help me with a seemlingly impossible decision? I am trying to decide between the crimson queen and the red dragon. All the information I seem to find makes them sound really similar. Except, one says weeping and the other says spreading. Could someone tell me the differences, the pros and the cons of each? the area where the tree will be planted is on the north side of the house, anywhere from full shade to full sun.

I appreciate your patience and kindness and any advice.

Thank you,


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They are both weeping red JMs. The spreading part depends on whether or not they are staked up or not.

The leaf shape is only very slightly different and it would be difficult to tell the difference until close up, and the habit is quite similar. 'Red dragon' may hold the color better into late summer than 'crimson queen', but this could be dependent more on environmental conditions than the genetics of the cultivar.

I've heard conflicting information about which one is more vigorous and/or which one obtains a greater height. Some say that 'red dragon' is slightly smaller than 'crimson queen'. 'Red dragon' being about 7 foot high/wide, 'crimson queen' being around 10 foot high/wide (note that this assumes a similar amount of staking and growth for 25 years or so). However, I've also read that 'red dragon' is more vigorous and larger than 'crimson queen'.

In reality there is so little different between the two, all but a few of us collectors would be able to tell them apart (I say this but I honestly don't know if I can right now).

But, if I had to pick just one [I will soon have both :)], I would go with the 'red dragon' because it is newer and supposedly better at holding its color in summer.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 10:29PM
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I may be biased, because I have two, but I prefer 'Red Dragon'. It holds its red color better and takes sun well, which may be advantageous in your climate. The leaves of 'Crimson Queen' look a bit more 'lacy' to me which is nice but they green up a bit by mid to late summer, so 'red dragon' gets my vote. Dan

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 10:47PM
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Both are excellent choices, so you could hardly go wrong with either :-)

Ultimate height is a factor of where the graft is located and training, but all things being equal, Red Dragon will tend towards a more upright growth habit while Crimson Queen will remain more of a broadly spreading, umbrella-shaped mound. CQ tends to grow somewhat more slowly as well and on mature specimens, is definitely much wider than tall. Specimen trees at our nursery are a good 10-12' wide but less than 5 feet tall. You should definitely consider placement and room to spread, as pruning back to fit a smaller space is not an ideal solution.

Both retain their color quite well in summer (at least a PNW summer), with RD having a bit of an edge. And both are quite heat tolerant.

Crimson Queen has received the RHS Award of Garden Merit and is considered one of the best of the red dissectums. It's a very classy plant.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 8:29AM
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myersphcf(z6a IL)

Everything said above is true both nice JM's... I also have both I find the RD to be a much better holder of red color HERE in Il as Dan stated...the CC will green out much more here ...I also think the RD is a bit less likely to leaf burn or just not as much HERE, at least that was the case with mine last summer... BUT most any JM will suffer leaf tip burn in summers like the last. Since CC's are relativly cheap and available almost anywhere ( I bought two end of season grafted CC's at Kmart for $8 ea and both have thrived and done well) i'd get both...I feel they are a bit more differnt from each other than Matt feels ( agreeing with Dan) the CC is a bit more dissected and seems to be a tiny bit lighter red and both worth having in there own right ... David

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 9:18AM
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I have both Crimson Queen and Red Dragon in my yard. The CQ I've had for about 15 years, the RD about three years. In my yard, CQ seems to grow faster, although my tree is only about 3-1/2' tall and it's at least 18 years old. Mine is wider than it is tall. The RD seems to keep its red color better in the heat of summer. Mine has only grown about 6-10" in three years, more in width than height. If I could buy comparable plants for the same price, I would probably choose Red Dragon. But Crimson Queen is easier to find and probably less expensive since it's been around a while, so I wouldn't hesitate to buy one if the price and/or size and form were better.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 3:13PM
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Thank you very much for your advice, I appreciate all of your comments and the beautiful picture!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 9:48PM
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To be honest, most of the red dissectums are very similar in appearance, particularly the individual leaves. They do differ in form, eventual height, tolerance to heat and color retention. I also have a Garnet, which is the fastest growing red dissectum I have seen. I really like the color, a brighter red than most, but it greens up by late June. My Garnet has grown taller in 3 years than than my 18-year-old Crimson Queen.

I have heard very good reports about Tamukeyama, but don't have one in my yard. It is supposed to be very heat tolerant and retain its color well. Inabe shidare is another red dissectum that gets high marks, and it tends to grow taller and less broad than most varieties.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 8:56AM
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