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Most extreme zone stretching?

Posted by Greenthumb z4a, Minnesota (My Page) on
Sat, Oct 16, 04 at 9:04

Hi all,
I ordered a Magnolia grandiflora '24 Below' for delivery next spring (I know, stupid me) and I am wondering if anyone else has been successful with any plants that are really out-of-their-zone? I may give M. g. 'Bracken's Brown Beauty' a try, too.

So, what have you planted that has survived, but really shouldn't have survived? I'd be interested in knowing about both woody plants or perennials and also if you made any adjustments to the plant's growing conditions (better drainage, other soil enhancements, etc.) to get the plant to survive. Also, how long has the plant survived in your garden?
Thanks,
Mike


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

  • Posted by jel48 Z3/4 Minnesota (My Page) on
    Sat, Oct 16, 04 at 18:13

Hi Mike, I'm afraid I've had more plants that don't grow where they should be able to survive then plants thad do grow where they shouldn't! :-) I'm going to keep a close eye on this thread though. I might try to venture out a little, based on the feedback you get.... maybe put in a few plants that I didn't think would make it here. I'm curious about your location in the state (in reference to your Magnolia grandiflora). Are you south or north of the cities? It's kind of coincidental in that my daughter is moving from Duluth to Ohio the first of November and was asking me whether I thought Magnolias would grow in Ohio. I hope your's makes it. It would be a beautiful addition to any yard.


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

If you want to see real zone pushing with perennials, you should be dropping in on the Far North forum. They grow things in zone 3 that I thought I'd only have a prayer with in zone 4!

As for Magnolia grandiflora, I lived in Columbus, OH for one summer in 1992. There was one grandiflora, say 20 ft and sparse, growing on the north side of a university building. I got the idea it was the only one in the city. No one knew if it was a particularly hardy cultivar. Columbus is between zones 5 and 6 (so they say).

As for me well . . . some are not as impressive as others:
Calycanthus floridulus-Carolina Alspice, 10 years
Cercidiphyllum japonica-Japanese Katsura(tree), 16 years
Liriodendron tulipifera-Tulip tree, 9
Buxus sempervirens-English boxwood, 10
Carya illinoiensis-Pecan, 19, 4 trees-no nuts yet
Diospyros virginiana 'Meader', 6
Evodia daniellii-Korean Evodia,15-flowers sub-par
Fargesia nitida-Bamboo, 6
Forsythia mandshurica 'Vermont Sun'-4,Mandchurian Forsythia,I think more reliable than 'Northern Sun'(I have been watching the arboretum plant for 20+ years)
Juglans nigra 'Thomas', 21-Thomas Black Walnut,produces sparsely every third year,but most excellent nuts
Thuja plicata 'Cuprea', 20-Western Arborvitae-a dwarf variegated form

Most grow in pretty ugly typical suburban lot conditions with a few inches of topsoil spread atop compacted subsoil. The pecans are in deep native rich soil, western arborvitae loamy gravel and high shade, English boxwood and bamboo in good garden soil.

Rick


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

  • Posted by jel48 Z3/4 Minnesota (My Page) on
    Sat, Oct 16, 04 at 22:35

Rick, I can hardly believe how you managed to grow bamboo here! Although some varieties must be hardier then others. I brought some home from my sister-in-law's house (Texas) one year (to Nebraska, not Minnesota) and managed to keep it growing through the summer, but that was the end of it!

Can I add a request to Mike's original question? I'd love to know what zone all these plants are 'supposed' to be ok in. If you happen to remember, that is. Rick, I see yours are pretty well established, so that may take a stretch of the memory! BTW, Columbus, Oh is exactly where my daughter and son-in-law are moving! I'll have to tell her that at least one Magnolia has been known to live there :-)


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Here is the accepted cold zone limits:

Calycanthus floridulus-Carolina Alspice, 10 years ZONE 5
Cercidiphyllum japonica-Japanese Katsura(tree), 16 years ZONE 5
Liriodendron tulipifera-Tulip tree, 9 ZONE 6-5
Buxus sempervirens-English boxwood, 10 ZONE 6-5
Carya illinoiensis-Pecan, 19, 4 trees-no nuts yet
Diospyros virginiana 'Meader', 6 ZONE 5 because it is from the northernmost provenance, otherwise ZONE 6
Evodia daniellii-Korean Evodia,15-flowers sub-par ZONE 6
Fargesia nitida-Bamboo, 6 ZONE 5
Forsythia mandshurica 'Vermont Sun'-4,Mandchurian Forsythia,I think more reliable than 'Northern Sun'(I have been watching the arboretum plant for 20+ years) ZONE 4 - I guess I put it in here because (1)it's a hardy forsythia, and (2) people give 'Northern Sun' Forsythia the big whoop-dee-do, when 'Vermont Sun' has been around for 20+ years before.
Juglans nigra 'Thomas', 21-Thomas Black Walnut,produces sparsely every third year,but most excellent nuts ZONE 5
Thuja plicata 'Cuprea', 20-Western Arborvitae-a dwarf variegated form ZONE 5

I thought of one more: Salix gracilistylus 'Melanostachys'(Black Pussywillow), 10 years ZONE 5-6
And I have more in the works, like American Snowbell(Styrax americanus)

Now I never said the bamboo grows beautifully and shrublike. It usually dies back to near the ground, and the leaves are not evergreen(although they do stay green through most the winter). I only grow it because it is an oddity here, certainly not because of its beauteious virtues. Remember two years ago when the ground froze so very, very deeply? Lots of people lost perennials, as did I. But Fargesia nitida? It was just a regular winter for him. And that winter I had no mulch over that garden.

I think Fargesia muriale would be equally hardy.

Rick

P.S. Joyce, if your sister is into gardening or nature, she will have to take a short trip to the Hocking Hills. There is a lot of cool natural sandstone caves and formations down there, but especially there is a HUGE gorge that is absolutely rich with native ephemeral wildflowers. Can't think of the name now. It's not Blackhand Gorge - that's to the east of Columbus and totally different climate. I think it's a nature preserve. Anyway it's on all the tourist maps. And of course there is the well known arboretum in Newark, OH. And I wounder if that red-tail hawk still resides in the public park in Whitehall(Columbus suburb)?


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

  • Posted by jel48 Z3/4 Minnesota (My Page) on
    Wed, Oct 20, 04 at 0:19

Thanks Rick! Your zone list gives me hope of trying a few things I might not have risked otherwise. Not only Z5 but Z6! Actually, I suppose they try to err on the safe side when the set the zones for particular plants, at least that would make sense. My daughter is the one moving to Columbus... I'll make sure and mention the Hocking Hills to her, and the Gorge with the beatiful wildflowers. I'm sure she'd love to see it, as well as the aroretum.


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Rick, your list of woodies grown out-of-zone is impressive. Generally, I belive it is more difficult to establish and successfully grow trees/shrubs out-of-zone than herbaceous perennials. The USDA zones are based on trees/shrubs and generally from that point of view tend to be somewhat accurate, albeit each zone is painted with a wide brush. For example, Red Oak naturally grows only to about Bemidji/Grand Rapids. North of that is just doesn't exist. However, it should be noted both those communities are USDA zone 3....same as here near the border. It is unfortunate that the USDA is dropping the A&B designations for its zones because it is misleading to say something grows in a particular zone when it reality it grows in only in the southern half of that zone. The other factor that greatly increases the difficulty of growing out-of-zone woodies is the time factor. There are always years, or a succession of years, in every zone when the minimum temps are never reached for a prolonged period (one or two nights of -30F does not make a zone 4!) and the tree/shrub will do fine....but when a 'normal' winter arrives it will take its toll. Not good with trees/shrubs that may need decades to reach maturity or at the very least are expected to be a permanent planting. So.... I find Rick's list even more impressive because of the length of time he has grown some of these.
Granted there are many other factors than prolonged winter low temperatures that affect all plants.....snow cover, late season rainfall, soil type, PH, etc....and the skill of the grower! Once again, some of these factors, particularly snow fall is a natural variable in all zones. I would suspect, the warmer the zone, the less chance there is of having good snow cover or any snow cover, during the winter lows.

When it comes to herbaceous perennials....it is a whole different ball game. USDA zones were never developed based on herbaceous perennials. Perennials tend to be all over the map....can be native to zone 7 and zone 2. It is the herbaceous perennials that are most often seriously incorrectly rated. There is no valid, large scale testing of perennials in cold zones. They are just rated as the zone in which they are tested or the zone in which the nursery is located. Usually zone 4 and warmer with a few exceptions. Just look at any garden catalog (with the exception of Busee's which gives a Zone 3 rating to a fair number of perennials) and count the number of species that are rated hardy in Zone 3. Well, you'd think zone 3 was devoid of vegetation! If I had a nickel for every time a plant native to zone 3A was rated as hardy to only zone 4 or 5, I would be very wealthy. Makes me crazy! What is even worse is to see a plant native to Siberia or northern Russia rated as Zone 5. I pay no attention to zone ratings on herbaceous perennials and instead look to where the species is native, the experience of other cold zone growers and/or just try it myself to determine the hardiness or garden worthiness. Cultivars/varieties can be more or less hardy than the species...but you do not know that unless you try it!
A few weeks ago, while googling another topic, I accidentally came across the University of Minnesota's Herbaceous Perennial Trial Results. I didn't know if I should laugh, cry, be amazed or depressed at this 'scientific zone testing' in zone 3 and 4. Among many other things, just how do you winter kill Centaura montana in zone 3? In zone 4?

I am always saddened when I hear gardeners say they won't try a herbaceous perennial because it is rated as a zone warmer than they are. Such self-imposed limitations takes the adventure, joy and diversity out of perennial gardening.

T'would be nice is there was a database of information from experienced gardeners in the colder zones documenting what can be grown with ease in each zone. That would be a terrific resource!

Jan


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Jan, I have plenty of adventure, joy, and diversity in my perennial garden of zone 4-hardies, thank you very much.


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Leaveswave - you are most welcome. I am glad to know you are happy with growing zone 4 hardies. Please be aware, I welcome opposing viewpoints on any topic. It is the way that I learn and expand my gardening knowledge. I fully expect that there will be differing opinions on the pro's and con's of 'zone stretching' and look forward to hearing different viewpoints. It is one of the reasons I like the GW forums....sharing information, opinions and experiences. I find the process of well-articulated discussions results in a lot of information that can be applied to my own gardening efforts.
Jan


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Indeed, woodies are tougher to zone push, mainly because microclimates as tall as a tree are tougher to find. Genetic source is very important. For examples:

my English boxwood came from a cutting from one found growing in Anoka;
the meader persimmon comes from New Hamphire;
the Japanese katsura I bought after it had been growing from seed for 5 years or so in the Plymouth area;
the pecan trees were grown from seed from a wild population in north central Iowa;

And the American snowbell I am trying is from a disjunct wild population about 50 miles south of Chicago.

Rick


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Rick - I would agree genetic source is important. What is your take on why plants/woodies/seeds from a colder zone outperform, in terms of hardiness, those that 'grew up' in a warmer climate. Technically the same species/cultivar should have the same genetic make-up no matter where it is grown, shouldn't it? Maybe the 'hardiness gene' kicks in very early when grown in colder climate? When grown in mass in nurseries in warmer climates, the 'hardiness gene' is never challenged and sort of withers?
Jan


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Don't mean to be harsh Jan, but you've got it all wrong.

Plant species have a lot in common with our own species-Homo sapien. The gene pool within the species is very diverse.

We have different color hair, facial features, tall or short, disease susceptibilities(e.g. Africans are prone to hypertension), etc.

But people are relatively transiant, and the plant world has been around a lot longer that us. Consquently, adaptations by plants to their specific environments are great.

Let's take an example. Green ash is native to all of the eastern U.S. But a green ash whose wild seed source is Georgia may not perform admirably in Minnesota even though it is the same species(Fraxinus pennsylvanica). It is adapted to the Georgian climate(longer growing season, longer hardening off time in preparation for winter, no need for harsh cold tolerances, better adapted to heat, humidity and more rainfall).

Of course, this is a very simplified, hypothetical example. In most cases, plants are quite tough and have it within them to deal with conditions different than what they are used to. Evidence the zone pushing we all do.

But if you had a choice, what would you do: get a plant of species Y that has adapted for millenia to your environment or a plant of species Y that has adapted for millenia to Timbuktu?

This theory becomes far more important when zone pushing. Knowing that NONE of a species genotypes* are adapted to your zone, wouldn't it make sense to choose a genotype that is as closely adapted to your environment as possible?
------------
One more caveat that seems to trip up a lot of people:
You have two exact clones of species Y. One grown in Minnesota and one grown in Florida.
Which will survive Minnesota better?

Answer: There is no difference. Where a plant is grown has no bearing on any single plant's genetics. (Are you the same person living in Minnesota AND Ireland?) Both you and the plant are still exactly the same. Changes occur only over time and through mutations.

*Genotype: A population of a species characterized by a group of specific traits. With plants, usually these traits are influenced by the environmental factors of the geographic area. For example, cold will induce a cold tolerance trait. For people, genotypes could be races, or groups within races.

Whew! You picked a passionate subject with me here. In fact I wrote a paper on it for Conifer Society. It is much more detailed and not that you'd really want to read it, but . . . I can email it to you, but be warned the transfer will take a while as I will have to scan each page.

Rick


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Thanks for that terrific explanation, Rick. Liked your analogy to Homo sapiens. You make a great teacher!

Yes, I would like to read the paper you wrote. If you have it as a document in your computer, couldn't you just send it as an attachment to e-mail rather than going through all the trouble of scanning it? The time factor in transfer on my end is not a problem. We have high speed access. Can't get a land line telephone...but do have broadband. Go figure.

Incidentally, I always have an image of you driving the highways and byways, on constant look out for that 'special' exception to the rule. LOL. Maybe I need to get serious about doing that.
Thanks again.
Jan


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Jan, sorry I wrote that before my I got my computer (which is only a year and a half ago). So it is not a doc file. But I already have your address @yahoo, so I'll be sending it on. That'll be me in the photo to the right.

REALLY glad you seemed to understand most of what I said in my last post. Organization and assumptions are some of my downfalls, and I was afraid it would be a little incoherent.

Rick


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Rick,
I'd be interested in your article, too, if you'd be willing to send it to me?

Thanks for all of the input on this topic. It's interesting to see what other people have had success growing in their yards.
Thanks,
Mike


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Jan, yes I do actually take highways off the beaten path just to see what is there. Not always looking for natural exceptions, but just to see. More often than not, I stop to look at something and find something even more interesting nearby. It pays to have a broad knowledge of many, many plant materials rather than specializing only in one area. The first ID books I had were Faucett's Wisconsin Flora, and Lakela's A Flora of Northeastern Minnesota. And I still use them. BTW, did you read the "high speed plant identification" thread on the Native plant forum? Its a hoot!

So Jan, you have inspired me to piddle with the resizing option on the Adobe program. Now I know how to scan and send those pages much faster. But the person on the receiving end needs to know how to resize them back.

Mike, this article was sent to the Conifer Society along with the "Thoughts on Disjunct Populations" that was published. I guess she didn't like it or something. Maybe it was poorly written and/or difficult to understand. Anyway, I'll send it off to you.

Rick


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Rick - your article sure the heck was NOT poorly written or diffiuclt to understand. A great read and so very interesting.
I am more than a bit chagrined by the fact that somehow my logic process just totally shorted-out when it came to genetic diversity/genetic provenance within a plant species. As we say in Minnesota, and speaking of myself, "OhFURdumb"! Love it when someone gets me back on track.
Jan


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Rick,
Thanks for sending the article.

I agree with Jan; your article was well written and very interesting. Who knows, maybe the article will show up in a future issue of the Conifer Quarterly.
Thanks again,
Mike


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Thanks guys. The Conifer Society editor had several things she wanted changed in "Thoughts on Disjunct Populations." Most were fine, one was not as it relayed a different message and one, well . . . I remember we had difficulty coming to an agreement. Finally said she could either delete that part or print it as written. When it was published, a few liberties had been take. I remember thinking "never again", but I am over it now. So that is where the "poorly written and/or difficult to understand" came from.

So Jan, as you have not seed the "Thoughts on ..." article, might I send that on too? It expands on theories brought forth on the first article.

Rick


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Rick, Yes, please do send the 'Thoughts on...' article.
Jan


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Mike, we do think a little bit alike sometimes! : ) I've been sitting on a '24 Below' for over a year waiting for it to get some size on it... I have also been a little worried about that graft union I think it has and what exactly the rootstock might be. I doubt it's as hardy as what's been top-worked onto it, so I'm likely to bury the union relatively deep and hope for the top to put out its own roots in time (if it makes it that far). I almost bought a 'Simpson's Hardy', but decided that $40 extra for one more possible degree of hardiness might not be very economical. I also have a healthy seedling of 'Bracken's Brown Beauty' that I'm planning to plant out as early as next spring. Although the M. virginiana 'Henry Hicks' was a no-go here, I'm always the optimist. Maybe in a few more years I'll have some more interesting things to say about the other sexy plants I've grown as well. : )

Stefan

P.S. if you remember my mention in the shrubs forum of the Viburnum carlesii fruits I had developing on my lone plant, they did finally abort after a tantalizingly long time on the shrub. It's really too bad, since the plant has little or no fall color to recommend it (a few measley yellowed interior leaves on it right now; the rest is green and drooping).


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Mike: I can't wait to see if you are successful with your attempt to grow a southern Magnolia in Minnesota. I have never heard of the "24 below" variety. But be very careful with site selection. Your plant may well survive the coldest temperatures, but not if it is exposed to wind at the same time. I have a large Braken's Brown Beauty here in Mass that I have been growing for years in a spot that is fully protected from NW winds in Winter. The only problem is that it receives full winter sun, which does cause some burn in late winter. I apply wilt-pruf to mitigate that problem. Last winter, we had our coldest temperature in 25 years (-6), and we had 3 mornings when the temp. dipped below zero. All of the southern magnolias here grown in average locations, exposed to wind, etc turned almost completely brown. But they all came back last spring and now look completely healthy. So, a normal Minnesota winter will probably defoliate your "evergreen" magnolia. But the woody part of the plant will hopefully survive. What kind of protection are you planning, if any?


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

  • Posted by John_W Z4a Minn, US (My Page) on
    Mon, Nov 1, 04 at 13:10

My stretches:

Bamboo: Fargesia nitidia. It lived for three years as a perennial, but it died after a mild winter three years ago.

Blue hollies: Ten years now, Very dense and vigorous. An occasional branch will fail in winter, but overall, they're great. These are in a protected spot.

Bald cypress: Tip dieback every year in the eight I've had it, but it grows and grows. Now at twenty feet. Dense and feathery. Knees are starting to come up around the base. Right now it is turning orange.

Katsura: never any damage in ten years. Now at 25 feet. Not reliable for fall color, but this year was quite good.

Black gum (Nyssa): Slowly increasing in size. A good bit of winter branch damage each year, but there's a net gain in regrowth. The colors this year are quite good. The years where fall is short, cold or dry (in other words, most autumns here)I don't get any color.

Washington hawthorn: No winter damage in ten years. Now they are dense and spreading, to fifteen feet. Lots of bright orange fruits, similar to Mountain Ash's. Fall foliage color is hit-or-miss. In zone five, this is a reliable tree for good fall foliage color.

Vernal witch hazel: seems okay, for two years. Hasn't flowered yet

Sargent cherry: Synder says is it leaf bud hardy, but doesn't flower at the arborteum. That's been my observation too. Still, it is an attractive tree in bark and leaf color. I'm hoping for a spectacular bloom after one of those few mild winters we get.

Fothergilla 'Mount Airy': Flowers for me. Great leaf color, too. But mine is very small from persistent rabbit damage. I moved it away from the rabbit run and surrounded it with hardware cloth. We'll see. Overall, entirely hardy.

Magnolia 'Verbanica': died

Magnolia sieboldii: Hardy to the tips. Mine is small, no flowers yet.

Sassafrass: died

Buttonbush (Cephalathus): three individuals near each other. One is to-the-tips hardy, one dies back halfway, the other dies to the ground. The last two regrow, but are smaller than the first.

Grace smokebush: hardy, but its very soft wood could not stand up to the wind. It split in half and died.

Doublefile Viburnum. Hardy to the snowline and it never flowered. It died after three seasons.

There are more that I can't think of right now.


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Stefan,
Yes, I remember you writing about the V. carlesii seedpod. Oh well, maybe next year?

I'm surprised that you say that V. carlesii has no fall color. I purchased a tube-sized V. carlesii from Forest Farm a couple of years ago and the plant is just starting to get large enough to plant out in the yard somewhere. I took this picture of my V. carlesii today.

This plant has great fall color. Did Forest Farm maybe send me the wrong plant? This plant has great smelling flowers in the spring; pink buds open to white flowers, so I think the name on the plant is correct?

I planted a Moonglow Sweet Bay Magnolia, Magnolia virginiana 'Wilson', last summer and the plant didn't make it though this past winter. My plant looked like it made it just fine, but the plant never leafed out. The stems were still green and the buds looked good, too. Maybe I pulled the plant out too soon? Who knows, maybe I'll try again some year. I've heard that M. virginiana require very acidic soils to grow well.

I called and spoke to the owner of the nursery where I ordered my '24 Below' magnolia and the plant I'm getting is a rooted cutting and not a grafted plant. That information makes me VERY happy. I've been toying with the idea of ordering a M. 'BBB' to try, too. It's not like these plants will ever get very large here in MN so I don't have to worry about an eventual 60' tree (though, in Minnesota, that would be something to see!) or the space that a tree that size would require.

rockman,
I will plant my evergreen magnolia on the east side of my house and wrap the plant in burlap to protect the plant through the winter. I may even spray the plant with wilt-pruf for even more protection. Like Stefan I am forever the optimist and everything is hardy until I've killed it at least twice.

Wow, John, that's quite a list. I am envious. I planted a doublefile viburnum this past summer and I have my fingers crossed.

I have two Sequoiadendron giganteum, in pots, and some pawpaw's (Asimina triloba) sunk in the garden for the winter. We'll see what happens? I'm hoping for a zone 7 winter (like that will ever happen?) so the sequoiadendron and the pawpaw's have a chance of making it through the winter.

I've thought of moving to zone 6 so I can grow some of the really cool plants I've read about, but then I figured that I would start dreaming about zone 8 plants, so I put the thought out of my head. I would guess that no matter where someone lives, they will want to grow a plant (or plants) that shouldn't grow in their zone.
Mike


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Yeah, I wish my V. carlesii looked like that (beautiful little conifers you have there, by the way)... from what I've gathered, they are fairly variable in that regard. I might just have to order one from FF myself, now! The flowers are fantastic, but the fall color is pretty much nonexistent. Your story is the exact mirror of mine when it comes to Magnolia virginiana - the stems looked fine after the winter, but never leafed out, and slowly lost all traces of green over the course of the growing season. My Persea borbonia (with a vaguely similar appearance in leaf) did come back from the roots, though! I'm not too hopeful about that one making it in the long run, but who knows? I'd almost given it up for dead... it didn't show signs of life until I dug it out.

I'll second John's comments about Meserve hollies, although they do vary (the best I know are the Blue Princess/Prince varieties, with the China Girl/Boy somewhat less stellar in habit, color, fruiting and hardiness). Doublefile viburnums have always died after a few years of hard dieback for me ('Mariesii' and 'Newport'). I have a hardy Magnolia x soulangeana that suddenly succumbed to a winter a couple of years ago, but I'm almost certain it was rodents eating its roots rather than anything weather-related. Fortunately I still have two healthy layered plants from it, so they will continue to carry its legacy on. M. sieboldii is clearly hardy here - I have a number of them, almost all rapidly growing into small trees, that haven't flowered yet but never experience winter injury. They'll be spectacular when they mature, I'm sure. Sailing on with the topic of things that eventually died, I had a Prunus laurocerasus 'Shipkaensis' for almost a decade before it passed on due to winter exposure... now that was a lovely thing, and one I should really try again. More later, perhaps.


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Hope you don't mind a Manitoban joining in here, this is a topic I find very interesting.

Rick, I too would be very interested in your paper/article (I have sent you a email requesting this).

My zone stretches...

Japanese Maples such as inaba shidare: only succeed by sinking the pot into the ground by the house foundation and surrounding the small tree with a box and filling with peat moss/leaves for winter. They come through very well this way. Apparently another gardenweb member in Northwest Ontario surrounds his with chicken wire, some insulating material, and then more wire to hold in place. I may try this as it seems easier than burying the tree.

Korean Maple (acer pseudosieboldianum). This one is sort of a mystery. Some sources say hardy to zone 3, some zone 4, yet some people in zone 4 report that theirs doesn't survive. After four years mine is doing well, about four feet in height. The soil is mostly clay and fairly moist. I imagine they like the moisture but probably not the clay. Anyways, it's in a mostly shady spot with a fence to the east of it, and my house and shed to the south of it. In general though my yard is fairly protected. For winter I usually mound fresh fluffy snow up and around it though can't totally cover it due to it's height.

Taxus media hicksii. Zone 4. They say the secret to growing out of zone plants is location. I think mine is in the ideal location with morning sun in summer, and total shade in winter. It's on the north side of the house close to the foundation and now beside my pond. For winter, I wrap with an old blanket and it even gets buried in snow (only 18 inches high at most). Here too it's in moist clay soil, though I have tried to amend the soil with peat/compost.

Ginkgo Biloba. Most sources say hardy to zone 4 or 5 and I would have to agree. Some say to zone 3, but my experience has been not our zone 3. I had three of these growing. My foot high Autumn gold suffered severe winter dieback each year, despite being buried in peat moss for winter. It finally died. Then there is a 3 foot high grafted male that suffers winter damage despite being wrapped in burlap. It basically resembles a stick, though it's now planted in a spot which I kind of like that look and don't expect that it will get huge. So I basically conclude that they are only marginally hardy here and need basic winter protection.

Then there's my six foot high ginkgo. One year I wrapped in plastic for winter. Not the best material, and I don't recommend it, but it did survive without winter damage. Actually, the plastic kept ripping in the wind and whipping around and breaking the tender branches. Last year I built a cardboard box around it, and that seemed to do the trick much better. More secure though the top sort of caved in a bit when it got wet with rain in February. This year I bought 2 by 2's in eight foot lengths and will be building a wood frame and stapling an old tarp around the frame. I've read that ginkgo's supposedly get hardier with age, so one year I may just forgo the winter protection. Oh, and I also mulch around the base of the tree with peat moss/leaves.

Royal star magnolia (magnolia stellata) zone 4. Mine suffered extensive winter dieback for the first few years. The second year I thought it was totally dead but it came back. Then one year it suffered little dieback (despite a wicked winter). So sort of puzzling. Last year, as a precaution, I wrapped with burlap and it was buried in a snowbank for most of the winter. It came through very well. It has never bloomed and now stands about 2 feet tall. Was going to remove it, just because it's growing so slowly, but I love the shape and color of the leaves and it has a nice vase shape to it. I now think the secret to growing it here is providing minimal winter protection, even covering with a cardboard box.

Thuja Occidentalis yellow ribbon and emerald. Despite claims that emerald holds it's color over winter, here it usually suffers winter damage. Therefore I either wrap in burlap or cover with a box. Cultivars such as thuja occidentalis Brandon seem much more winter resistant.

This year I am trying a few new plants and will see how they overwinter. Blue Girl and Blue Boy Holly (Ilex meserveae) which I plan to mulch around the base and cover with a styrofoam shrub cover. I probably could do more to protect it, but I want to see how it does with just this treatment.

Barberry (cherry bomb) Not a big zone stretch, I've seen them growing in Fargo, ND. I will probably just ensure mine's covered with lots of snow.

Thuja Occidentalis pyramidalis. I hear this one suffers more winter damage, but will see how it does, unprotected. It was only a $2 buy so worth a chance.

Yucca filamentosa 'color guard'. Though I grow the basic Y. filamentosa, this one has creamy white and green leaves. Will probably cover or ensure it gets good snow cover through winter. I had the basic green one in a raised bed against the fence and it suffered winter damage almost every year. Last year I moved to another side where it gets good snowcover, and more shade, and it came through winter much better.

Paulownia Tormentosa (empress tree). Apparently this can be grown as a coppice. The key is to get the roots to survive winter and it will send a new shoot up each spring, so I plan to mulch around the base of the tree. If it doesn't survive, no problem, I just spend a few dollars on seeds. One guy I met here in Winnipeg says he grew his for a few years, before the root died over winter.

I was reading in the prairie gardener magazine that there are a few northern catalpa trees here in Winnipeg. Apparently it survives though almost always suffers some winter damage. Anyways, might want to get a few seeds and try it myself. Anyone have any experience with them? Catalpa speciosa or c. ovata?

Regards,
Glen


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

John W, you have a good list too. I have Ilex x meserve 'Blue Boy' and 'Blue Girl' also. Since about 1985. But they are getting shaded out by the Chamaecyparis and look pretty gangly now. The female does bear fruit about every third year.

Oh that's right - I have Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Sulphurea' and a fast, larger growing cultivariant of 'Snow'. These are plumosa types about 20 years old also. Of course I do have threadleaf forms like 'Filifera Nana' and 'Filifera Aurea'.

My Katsura always has great fall color. Some years it will be just yellow, and some years orange-red, changing to orange then yellow. Below is a photo. I think it does suffer from compacted soil and/or lack of moisture. It was growing at my parents when it was 5 ft tall in good soil and moisture. It had consistantly larger leaves and great growth. My friend's in Fridley is 9 ft and still has these healthier characteristics.

Both my Viburnum carlesii and judii have pretty good fall color every year, although this is a spectactular year. They were planted in 1995 and 1992 respectively. Never any dieback. There has been 2 or 3 winters when carlesii lost about half of its flower buds.

A few years back on a Rock Garden Society tour we went to a member's home and she had a doublefile viburnum about 9 ft growing on the north side of her house and close to the building. It was flowering most wonderously that spring.

There are some 25+ ft vernal witchhazels growing in the Arboretum woods along with V. virginiana.

Some other friends I know in Excelsior have had a rose pawlonia for at least 15 years. Grows as a perennial, but a 12-15 foot one!

Glen, Catalpa speciosa is very hardy here. Ovata only from the right seed source. I grew some, but my kept dying back. Our Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in zone 4a has some ovata's. Mature trees, maybe 25-30 years old? I have seen some tip dieback. But are certainly satisfactory, even if they didn't flower(which they do every year).

I always assumed you had native arborvitae somewhere up there. Thuja is everywhere in zone 3 Minnesota and even in the zone 2 patches.

Rick


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Stefan,
The little conifers on the lower left side of the photo are plants I started from my Chamaecyparis pisifera filifera nana. I should have taken larger cuttings because these plants have been pretty slow growing (to be expected from a 'Nana' cultivar). I haven't been very good about fertilizing, either. Next spring I'm going to use some osmocote on them and hopefully that will get them to put on more growth.

Glen,
You're always welcome here. We Northerners have to stick together (as a matter of fact, if any of you want to come over and huddle around some of my more tender plants for the winter, that might be the extra protection they need to survive the winter, and I'd really appreciate it (c:).

That's quite a list you have there and since you're in zone 3, you're doing very well. I may need to try a paulownia and just coppice it every year. My hostas growing in full sun will appreciate the shade the large leaves provide.

Rick,
Do you know what cultivar of doublefile viburnum that person had (I know it's a long shot, but I have to ask)? I think the cultivar I planted is called 'Summer Snowflake', which is a more upright growing plant. I don't recall any fall color so far. I'll have to go out and look at it tomorrow.

That's a beautiful Katsura. Where is that tree growing in your yard? I don't remember seeing it this spring on the NARGS-MN tour (or maybe I did see it and my little brain just doesn't remember it). My weeping katsura doesn't have very good fall color. I figured this year would be the year if the tree was ever going to put on a show, but the leaves turned yellow/brown and fell off. My A. pseudosieboldianum is still going strong. I would have thought that the leaves would have fallen off by now, but the tree is still beautiful and has gotten redder as time has gone by.
Mike


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

  • Posted by John_W Z4a Minn, US (My Page) on
    Tue, Nov 2, 04 at 23:36

I forgot about Chamaecyparis pisifera. I have one of those. It was supposed to be 'Nana' but mine must be 'Gigantea' instead. It would be twenty feet now if I did not tame it with the Felcos each year. I keep it to this size:



I have had this one for several years with no winter damage.

I am so glad to hear about the vernal witch hazels doing well at the arboretum. Were they good sized? Mine is something of a plodder.

The katsura in your photo looks great. I bet it will be a stunner in another ten years.

Here is a link that might be useful: Chamaecyparis pisifera filifera


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

John, gorgeous picture. I have Chamaecyparis pisifera 'sungold' planted this spring. From what I read 'sungold' is smaller in size and slow growing? In my situation I hope so. I really thought it's more miniature.

Rick, we do have native arborvitae here. In Southeast Manitoba and then (from what I understand) an isolated patch between Lakes Winnipeg and Manitoba which is definitely zone 2. Still, I wonder if some of the cultivars, particularly the yellow foliage ones, are as hardy as the native ones. Though, in all honesty, it could just be the location I have them planted in. In a small city lot it's hard not to place them close to a fence which is a bad location if it reflects winter sunlight. I also have one called brabant which has suffered a bit of winter damage, but nothing that doesn't repair itself in summer. The brandon one, however, seems the most winter resistant.

Mike, the only drawback of coppicing paulownia is that it will never bloom (only blooms on old wood). However, that means it won't self-seed either and I've read the seeds can be a problem when they sprout everywhere. I already have to contend with elm seedlings. Apparently when coppiced paulownia develops huge tropical looking leaves.

Well, now I really want to try catalpa. Yet another plant I don't have room for, but the heart shaped leaves and blooms sound neat.

Thanks,
Glen


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

John W.... I didn't know Washington Hawthorne isn't supposed to do well here.... I planted a hedge of them ten years ago (not only for the thorny protection but Hawthorne is a traditional plant to protect the owners from evil people) and they've been doing very well, though they didn't bloom for the first four years...

I've also had good luck with Sassafrass, I have three that must be about 7 or 8 years old now...

I've never gotten a Witch Hazel to last for more than two years, I've given up on those.


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

belle,
Where did you purchase the sassafras trees?
Thanks,
Mike


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

My katsura is right next to my patio deck Mike, but away from the house. Of course the owner of that doublefile viburnum had no idea what cultivar she had, if it was a cv. at all. Had a thread about it last year on the shrub or tree forum, and figured out it was most likely not a variety tomentosum.

John W, my 20 year old Cham. pisifera 'Filifera Nana' is hardly any bigger (unpruned) than your pictured one. Of course the 'Filifera Aurea' is about 10 ft. They both grow in dappled shade of high oaks. I don't think the pisifera filifera forms in zone 4 are anything to crow about. In fact I am glad Glen is trying it. If the Sungold doesn't go for you Glen, try the plain green Filifera Nana. I think it will be hardier.

The Arboretum vernal witchhazels are 25ft or so. They are on the east side of the trail from the wildflower garden that goes along the ravine in the woods, and almost to the old bird sanctuary clearing below the crabapple hill. They also have some planted outside the tearoom of the Snyder Building.

Michele, I read your member page and if "Frostbite Falls" is International Falls, you're in zone 3 babe, and be proud of it! And Sassafras? Did you say sassafras? Oh ya, and by the way did you mention sassafras? I think you said sassafras. Yup, sassafras. Even here in the Minneapolis area I don't know anyone who is growing it. The arboretum's died many years ago. One fall years back, I brought several wild seedlings back from an area about 60 miles south of Chicago. With those plump buds, the rabbit had a tasty lunch two days after planting. (You all are free to slap me for not yet going back to try again.)

Michele, I'll gladly trade you for a fall blooming witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana). They are grown from seed from wild southern Minnesota plants. There is no hardier genotype than that. Maybe in exchange for a sassafras root sprout?

Glen your assumption about some Thuja cultivars not being as hardy is true. There are some that don't do well even here in zone 4a. The wild growth forms are so variable in shape too. The central Minnesota form differs so obviously from the northern Minnesota genotype that even a plant hater could tell the difference.

Rick

This is my tulip tree just beginning to color up. (None of my photos are in real time as my camera is not digital.) To the lower left [and yellow] is Sambucus nigra 'Laciniata', to the left of that [and yellow] is Xanthoceras sorbifolia.


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Glen,
I forgot to mention that your Cham. is BEAUTIFUL! WOW!

Rick,
I am so envious that you have a tulip tree; I would give my eye teeth for a tulip tree that was hardy here.

Has your tulip tree blossomed yet? Can Liriodendron be grown from cuttings? (have you ever tried to root cuttings from the tree? - hint, hint(c:) I just looked in my Prop. book by Dirr and he says that the tree can be grown from cuttings, but the cuttings need to be taken from juvenile growth and treated with hormone in June/July. (I'd remove some other plant so I had the space to plant a tulip tree).

Nice pic, BTW. Does your tulip tree color pretty consistently every fall or is it sporadic?
Thanks,
Mike


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

  • Posted by John_W Z4a Minn, US (My Page) on
    Wed, Nov 3, 04 at 22:48

I am quite envious of tulip tree. I grew up in Indiana where these were so common. I miss tulip trees. I found one in a neighborhood near here, but it was obviously winter-razed each year. It was merely a big shrub with a lot of dead wood in it. Pretty sad and discouraging.

Here is a photo of my Katsura:

2004-October

The nurseryman who sold it to me swore it was a small little ornamental in Minnesota, so I planted it as a specimen tree six feet from the foundation. After the first two years of looking dainty and pretty, it started to shoot upwards. Now I'm worried it will hurt the house. I'm too fond of it to remove it.

Last summer I hosted a garden tour at my house. That tree got all sorts of comments and questions. No one had seen or heard of a katsura before. If this tree is as vigorous, hardy and beautiful as it is for us, I wonder why it hasn't found a market here?

Same with Washington hawthorns. Literature declares them 'borderline' for zone 4, but they do just great for me. I have never seen one elsewhere in MN. Again, these are quite common landscape trees elsewhere. Why not here?


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Oops...Sorry, John, that's your chamaecyparis and not Glen's. Sorry for the mix up. (It's still a beautiful plant.)
Mike


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

John, my sources list katsura as a 50 x 50 tree at maturity! It's leaves and flowers resemble redbud, so the size and that will make it easier for me to resist it. You could always remodel...I wonder if the tree or the house will prevail.

I'm enjoying all the tree talk here, and learning about some new-to-me species.


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

I should have put in info about my tulip tree. No blooms yet, but I wouldn't expect any until maybe this coming season. Fall color is somewhat variable. This year is the best so far, all leaves turned yellow and dropped. Most often they turn yellow but stay on the tree while they turn brown, and then drop. There has been a few years that green leaves have frozen on the tree. Never any dieback, even in the 34 F below winter, although about half of the buds died that winter. Genetic origin unknown.

I have tried a little to root this tree. But really haven't been too serious. Just stuck a few when I was doing some other cuttings. Consequently, timing could easily have been off. None of them rooted or callused or even lasted very long in the progation medium. I really do need to get serious about this one.

Anyone have any idea how old the Arboretum katsura's are? They are staying pretty dwarf. I also wonder if there is a difference between males and females. I spied a katsura in someone's backyard in Chicago once. Dbh was almost 3 feet! No way they'll get that big here, but I suspect 30 ft(?)

I love my American Smoke tree for it's fall color. It is very long lasting, and starts as a yellow-orange, then orange-red and finally mahogany. Except this year! I was planning on taking photographs throughout the color changes, but it didn't do much more than you see here this year. The mahogany color(that it usually gets) can seen on the lower, inside foliage.

Here is my Cotinus obovatus. October 15.

And here it is 5 days later.

And this is Forsythia mandshurica 'Vermont Sun'. This is the first season for the red blush on the normally all yellow fall foliage.


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Beautiful pictures, Rick!

I think you need to work on propagating your tulip tree AND your Cotinus obovatus (c: Your Cotinus is just spectacular!

I have (loosely) decided that any deciduous plants that I put in the ground need to have some fall color to be worthy of planting because in the fall, it's ALL about leaf color.

Do you know where the katsura trees are planted in the arboretum? I wasn't aware that the arboretum even had any katsura trees.

I wonder how many people would be interested in touring the arboretum? It seems that everyone knows where some unusual tree is located, but that knowledge isn't widely known. We could set up a tour and take everyone to the unusual trees that are known to us so everyone would know where these plants are located in the arboretum. We could do this sometime in late spring (before the bugs come out).

Does this sound interesting to anyone besides me?
Thanks,
Mike


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

The arboretum katsura's are in the old shrub exhibit. If I remember right, it's the same bed as the seaberries. I believe they are both males.

I think maybe if we do all go to the Arb, we ought to get a list together of materials we definitely want to see. A little bit of planning would save a lot of time. I live so close, or course I'm in.

I did try rooting my Cotinus obovatus this season. I got some cuttings of a coggygria cv. from a GW friend to root along side for comparison. Every coggygria rooted fantantastically well. But only one out of 9 cuttings of obovatus rooted (or at least so far). I'll try some things a little different next time.

You said it about fall color Mike. In fact, I have a 15ft European alder hybrid that I'll be cutting down after the catkins bloom next spring for that very reason. Later I'll be posting some more pic's with another characteristic people REALLY don't think about (except me). Bet ya can't guess what it is. Anyone?

Rick


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

  • Posted by John_W Z4a Minn, US (My Page) on
    Sat, Nov 6, 04 at 20:04

I enjoy the arboretum any time, so I'd be game. The staff used to have a map of their unusual trees and shrubs, but I think there are more out there, more I read about in Synder books or recollections from older gardeners familiar with the place.

I remember that katsura, and I think I remember it being out in the open, too. Am I right? And the C. obovatus --there *has* to be one there, but all I could ever find were the C. coggygria.


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Hi Rick,
Ok, since you have a horticultural education this characteristic must be fairly specific/specialized.

The characteristics that I like/look for in landscape plants are: fall color; unusual patterns in and/or exfoliating bark; fragrant/beautiful flowers; showy fruit; colorful/variegated leaves/needles; colorful bracts; buttressed trunk/unusual root flare; showy roots (can't think of a better way to describe this feature, but Beech trees come to mind); contorted branches/unusual winter silhouette.

Are any of the above mentioned items the item you look for? And, if not, what else is there? I'm stumped!

Yes, I agree that we should make a list of the unusual trees that are known to each of us and then we can go from there. As far as the time goes, how does late May/early June sound to everyone?

One of my favorite conifers is on the western edge (I think) of the Bailey shrub walk; it's Abies lasiocarpa v. arizonica compacta. A stunningly beautiful conifer.
Mike


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

OK JW, it's been a long time for this, but I think I remember C. obovatus where the Japanese treelilacs are next to the old spruce collection. Just one or maybe two. And as old as everything else planted nearby. That's old.

Indeed, that Abies lasiocarpa is a beaut. I think the Bailey walk is the best new planting at the Arb in the last 10 years. Somethings for the "common people" and for us plant nuts.

Mike, that characteristic I notice is not a characteristic that is specific(taxonomically or otherwise), and not specialized either. It's not anything you mentioned. In fact it's quite common, and common to, say, 95% of woody plants[now there's a clue].

Rick

P.S. You guys will get a kick out of the plant posted here:

Here is a link that might be useful: Weird thing, I think I love ya (if I were a toad)


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Well, I give up. I'm terrible at guessing stuff like this. The only thing that I can think it could be is deciduousness (loss of leaves)? I know that's not correct, but it's not specific or specialized and I would have to guess that 95% of plants are deciduous.

OK, what is it? I give up. (c:
Mike
(p.s. I mailed the list today)


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Hah! Mike you're a better sleuth than you think! The answer is: fallen (or persistent) leaves.

The large, paperlike leaves of the tulip tree, the supposed spicy smell of decaying katsura leaves, the persistence of oak leaves(and how they sweep across the snow), the squiggly floor under the Scarlet Curls willow, the brown wavy "dog fur" beneath a contorted white pine, not to mention the extended life of the brilliant fall colors. Yes, is anyone else as weird as me to admire these attributes?

Rick
P.S. to your's: You sent it Monday, I got it Tuesday!


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Rick,
Wow, that was fast!

That's not a weird attribute to admire at all. My 'Dawyck Purple' beech and my Crimson Spire oak keep most of their leaves through the winter.

I like the sound of the wind blowing through the dried leaves. The only thing I don't like is cleaning the leaves up in the spring (I always hope for a windy spring day so the leaves just blow away(c:)

That's really a cool euonymus. Do you know how large the plant is at maturity?
Thanks,
Mike


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

I'm a MN transplant to VA and have been relatively hardy here ;-)

It's ironic that many of you are trying to grow bamboo, while here people are paying thousands of dollars to get rid of it. It's a noxious weed here, and pity the homeowner whose neighbor has it, and it's crossing under the fence!

In MN I grew lots of hardy and non-hardy roses, and didn't have too many problems with diseases, even with hybrid teas. Here in VA it is almost harder to grow roses - while even hybrid tea roses are all hardy here without any protection, the diseases they get are unbelieveable. I think part of the reason is that in MN the roses would die to the ground every year, and the new canes didn't carry disease spores, and the growing season was much shorter so the diseases didn't have time to develop, and the weather was much drier in MN than in VA. Here it loves to rain and rain - it's even raining today!

Rob


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Rob,
Thanks, that was interesting.

I've finally decided that no matter what zone you live in, that most gardeners will/would want to grow something that *shouldn't* grow in their zone.

And a plant that might be invasive/weedy in the more southern climes will *usually* be quite well behaved when grown out-of-zone.

So, do you prefer gardening in VA or MN? (the plant-palate of grow-able plants is much larger in VA so this is probably a stupid question).
Thanks,
Mike


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Hi Mike,

It's hard to say. I enjoy being able to grow lots of things I couldn't in MN, however, the disease frustration can't be underestimated. I am considering either giving up roses or growing only those that will survive without heroic efforst on my part. In MN I my only concern was winter hardiness for roses, and there are actually very many that qualify. In VA, my main concern is disease resistance in roses, and there aren't many that qualify. There is not much effort to breed disease resistance yet, but there has been a huge effort to breed winter hardy roses, for example the Mordens, Explorers and Buck roses.

So far the only truly disease resistant roses have been the Knockout variants. So it's there, but only the beginning.

Rob


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Rob, you said it for roses! I would agree. If I liked them, I would much rather deal with the hardiness factor than bugs and especially diseases.

Mike, I can't really say what the mature size of that warty euonymus is. Looking at photos on the internet, they look to get about 6-8 ft. But looking at my friends here, I would guess 4-6.

To catch up with some old conversation on this thread:

Viburnum x judii(left) and V. carlesii(right)-best color ever

Seasonal carpets beneath:

Salix x 'Scarlet Curls'

Pinus strobus 'Torulosa'


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Just a few things I am growing in St. Paul:
Acer carpinifolium
Acer griseum
Cedrus libani ssp. stenacoma (first winter)
Liriodendron tulipifera 'Arnold'
Magnolia ashei (2nd winter)
Magnolia virginiana seedling (second winter)
Metasequoia glyptostroboides (2nd winter)
'Gold Rush' - 2nd winter
Phyllostachys aureosulcata (2nd winter)
Populus lasiocarpa (5th winter)
Sasa pigmaea (2nd winter)
Pinus bungeana (3rd winter - very vigorous - 1' of growth this year)
Pinus densiflora 'Oculus-draconis'
Pinus rigida x taeda
Pinus virginiana 'Fanfare'
Pinus virginiana 'Wate's Golden'
Quercus robur 'General Sherman'
Quercus robur 'Variegata'
Salix babylonica (2 cultivars) - often listed as zone 7
Salix magnifica (4 years - some dieback)
Sassafras albidum (second winter now - from Ohio)


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Jason,
That's a nice list of plants that you have there.

Is your 'Arnold' tulip tree in a protected location? I had one planted in my front yard in a very exposed location and it didn't survive its first winter.

Rick has a very nice tulip tree growing in his backyard that has survived -32F or -38F (somewhere in that range) with very little damage. I think he said the tree lost a few buds, but no wood loss. He needs to try and propagate the tree so others can try it out and see if it's just his conditions or if the tree really is much hardier than other tulip trees.

I've had a Metasequoia growing in my front yard for approx. 5 years now with pretty minimal damage. Last year the tree lost part of its leader and the year before the tree had some die back of its lateral branches, but otherwise it has done great.
Mike


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Imopressive indeed, Jason. How do you get all that (and all your other stuff) in your tiny little yard?

What Salix biabylonica cultivars do you have? Had to look up Salix magnifica, and Oh My Gosh! Male catkins 10-18 cm, female up to 25cm! I realize by the time a female reaches those proportions they get kind of ugly, but still. Do you have any flower buds this year? Is it a he or she? Be sure to post photos.

One fall, I brought some wild Sassafras seedlings from northern Illinois. The rabbit found them the second night with their big tasty buds. It is on my list of To do's to get down there again.

Yes, my tulip tree survived -35 f. It was about 12 ft high then, lost about half its buds but no dieback at all. Still no flowers, but it's easily 20 ft now so it shouldn't be long (think positively).

Rick


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just a silly observation

Hi all,
I have a comment to make - only because I am amused. I've been reading Gun, Germs, and Steel - by Jared Diamond. I'm only just reading it for the first time, and if you're not familiar with it, it's about what gives certain civilizations an edge over others. Anyway to get to the point - Diamond writes how intelligent hunter-gatherers were - they (individuals) often were completely familiar with 1000 species of plants or more. And the first thing they did when visiting neighboring communities was to discuss and share plants!! It reminded me of this thread - and the spread of plants all over. Honestly I believe we were made to appreciate plants!


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Mike,

My Arnold is right against the chimney facing east. It did lose a few buds last year - but you can't tell. It grew alot last summer....

Rick,

You're right, I have alot of trees packed into a tiny yard...I look at it as a trial garden and expect losses and will removed inferior plants in favor of those that ae succeeding. I also trim things alot and grow alot of fastigiate cultivars if possible...

The babylonica cultivars I have are 'Crsipa' and 'Yatsabusa'. The latter is a perfect dwarf version of the weeping form of the species...

Salix magnifica is one of my favorites - I have two acessions, I only know the sex of one - female. I also have S. fargesii and S. moupinensis. S. fargesii is stunningly beautiful in all seasons and has suffered no dieback in 4 years. I would reccommend every gardener to try one of these species. I don't think you will be disappointed...


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Well,
I can add to the list - but these are all failures:
Deer fern
Sitka spruce 'papoose'
Vine maple (I did get it from Washington State - so as Leftwood would
say - bad provendance)
Heather - callunas and erikas (after a hard freeze w/no snow)
Xerophllum tenax
Sorbus scopulina
Ribes sanuineum

and - many of my favorites that like cool nights don't do well in the summer - notably sweet peas and English garden type perennials.

As I've told Leftwood - I live east of the Cities, and get the same weather as in the Cities. (funny, people here identify more w/Minn. than w/ Wisconsin - except when it comes to the Packers).


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

On the list of already-fried plants this winter is Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis, which will probably still survive to return from underground stems. I had hopes this would manage well with snow cover, but that test will have to wait for another year. Lonicera nitida 'Baggesen's Gold' has at minimum gone deciduous at this point, which is not unexpected, but only spring will prove whether the plant can recover. Many other plants are in fine form yet, and the deer have also taken note - chomp marks all over anything green and many missing leaves and flower buds tell me I haven't been keeping up on the repellant spray as I should.

I've also killed vine maple, heath, heather, and red flowering currant - ah yes, the circle of life is always in evidence here.


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

I thought of another:
Salal (Gaultheria shallon)

I loved that plant - had it for 3 winters, then after a deep snowless freeze it died. If you're not familiar with it - it's in the Ericaceae family, and has large evergreen leaves and is a shrub. I guess I mostly have bad luck with the Ericas - my favorites!


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

How about a southern magnolia in the Chicago suburbs? I planted mine in May 2003 and it survived -8 last February. This winter I built a screen and placed 2 strings of holiday lights inside for our coldest nights. I turned the lights on last night (Jan 6) as we were supposed to have single digits. With an outside temp of 17F inside the screen showed 28F. I am hoping to lose fewer leaves this year. I got mine from
www.hardy-southern-magnolias.com


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

rvanw,
Do you have M. g. 'Bracken's Brown Beauty' or another cultivar?

I may have to try the holiday lights thing on my plant next winter. Are you using the miniature lights or the larger-bulb lights? I would guess the larger-bulb lights since the miniature lights don't really give off any warmth.
Everyone,
I have my fingers crossed for my zone-stretched plants this year. Since we have not had any snow so far this year I am afraid that some of my more tender plants may not make it. Oh well, that just opens up real estate for something else. There are some things that I really don't want to lose, though.

Keeping my fingers crossed and double crossed (is that even possible?)
Mike


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Interesting method, using those lights. But if you use the larger C7's or C9's that get hot, I wouldn't dare place them near any foliage.
Rick


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Mike and the Minnesota Zone Stretchers (sounds like a good name for a rock band) Careful! It looks like some -20 air or colder (Zone 4?) is headed your way by the end of the week. Are you getting any snow to protect the ground/roots from the very deep freeze to come?

Former Minnesotan


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

We (my gardening partner in crime and I) have been reading with great interest the experiences you've all been sharing on this thread and decided to add a few of our own.

Douglas fir (Pacific coast variety) has been growing for 12 years from a seedling transplant. It is now about 15 feet tall and is taking off.

Magnolis verbanica (thanks Mike!) survived it's first winter with us last year with no dieback and seems to be settling in rapidly.

Magnolia "Elizabeth" is now about 7 feet tall after 3 years with no dieback and has bloomed well with huge, glowing pale yellow flowers for the past 2 years. This one really settled in quickly.

Magnolia "Wada's Memory" is a slower grower, and is about 4 feet tall from a plant added to the gardens 6 years ago. It has bloomed the last 3 years. The flowers are very beautiful but tend to be shredded by wind and rain.

Magnolia "Betty", from the Eight Little Girls series, was added 5 years ago as a small mail order plant. Poor planning at planting time resulted in our moving the plant 3 years ago to a better location, and is about 5 feet tall--no blooms yet.

Magnolia "Randy", also from the Little Girl series, has incredible purple and pink flowers fully 6 inches across, and is 7 feet tall after 4 years. It blooms later than the other magnolias we have.

Magnolia "Galaxy" suffered dieback after we had to move our 5 foot tree after 3 years but has had strong regrowth to 3 feet plus. We can't wait to see it flower.

Magnolia "Leonard Messell", purchased about 10 years ago from Rice Creek, is impressive at 20 x 15 feet (many lower branches have had to be removed to keep it in bounds). It is always covered in blooms each spring, in fact its first year of bloom occurred after a winter where its flower buds survived consecutive nights of -43, -44, and -40 degrees.

Magnolia denudata grew from 2 feet to 8+ feet in 5 years but succumbed to the Winter From Hell (WFH) 2 years ago, about the time it was to become flower producing size. Of course,we have to try this again.

A Cornus kousa tree added 4 years ago did very well until 2 years ago when it suffered some die back and root death, and continued to have dieback the past two winters. This summer there was good regrowth, and even some good fall color.

From a small plant, a Cornus florida rubra tree did very well, rapidly growing to 5 feet with a few flowers and good dark red fall color; unfortunately, it was planted in too low of an area and succumbed, we think, to root rot after a particularly wet spring 2 years ago. We hope to try one of the newer, supposedly hardier cultivars.

A B&B cornus from the "Constellation" series, "Stellar Pink", purchased in Wisconsin is now about 10 feet tall after 2 years, shows beautiful growth, and has sustained no winter damage. No flowers as of yet.

Chameocyperus nootkenensis glauca pendula, obtained as a small own root plant from Forest Farm 4 years ago is still a small plant. A B&B plant purchased two years ago from a Twin Cities nursery, grafted onto thuja rootstock, is about 8 feet. It has significant leaf dieback on the upper half, and we are hoping it will recover.

We also have several Japanese maples that we grow in ground with winter protection, including a very large (for our zone) atropurpurea, "Crimson Queen", "Ukigamo" (very fast growth), "Shaina" (has shown some tendency to revert to "Bloodgood"-like growth at the tips), "Beni sischihenge", "Inabe Shidare", and others grown from seed. We had a 6 foot tall "Garnet" which never recovered from the WFH and died completely this past spring. An acer circinatum seedling has survived 2 winters and is troubled more from rabbits than the cold.

Kate and Dave


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Our climate here in southern Finland is similal to yours(USzone 4a).So its very interesting to follow this forum.I have noticed many species here which are hardy in my garden and you consider uncertain there.And vice versa.


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Karij, welcome! I'm curious to know what your lowest winter temperatures are there in southern Finland. I don't know this for certain, but my guess is that you may have somewhat warmer winters than Minnesota, but cooler summers that don't allow certain plants to harden off as well.


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

I just got home from a gardening seminar, and 1 of the speakers said something very interesting. She's from the Cities, and was talking about the effect of the concrete and all with the effect of raising your zone. You probably already knew that, but I didn't know it raised it a whole zone.

Maybe you've all heard this - she said that a few years ago, the Horticultural Society changed the hardiness zone map - so zone 3 has move really far north. She said they weren't allowed to post this because of the current administrations stance on global warming. So the hardiness zone maps, that I've been looking at anyway, are all out of date.

All I know is I do best with zone 3 plants.


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Yes, Welcome Karij! You may even find someone who speaks a little Finnish here. Back in the late 1800's/early 1900's, quite a lot of Finnish people immigrated to Northern Minnesota. Me, well my Grandparents are from Slovenia.

Cassiope, I don't think the heat island effect that you speak of extends past the "island" itself (central metro area). Not that I don't disagree with the zone line change. Actually, I think it's entirely possible, but a bit premature.

Rick


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Rick,

I was curious, and this of course is nothing but an idle search. However I did find the 2003 hardiness zone map. I'd post it but I'm not sure if it's o.k. It came off of a Colorado State Extension site. It does look quite different.


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Kate,
Thanks so much for posting your list. That's a very impressive list, BTW.

Is your 'Leonard Messel' magnolia fragrant? Or, are the flowers fragrant enough so you can smell the flowers when you are near the tree or do you need to put your nose right into the flowers to smell them?

I'm afraid that this winter is going to be another WFH winter.

I have my fingers crossed.
Mike


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Thanks.You are right,Stefan.Our winters are not so cold any more.Twenty years ago we had last really cold one,about -40.This winter has been exeptional warm,rain almost all the time.Summers may have reasonable warm in Finland,even many weeks heat waves,but summer is not so long as in Minnesota.However I grow many North American oaks and pines and still they are ok.

Rick. I visited last October Slovenia and I was very delighted with the country and people.Slovenia is really the hidden treasure of Europe.I renew my visit this April,because golf season is started allready there and Bled has one of the most charming couses in the whole Europe.
Yeah.I have met many finnish speaking persons in Minnesota.
I visited Duluth many times,because my daughter studied there some years ago playing hockey at UMD.


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Oh yes Kate, that is a knockout list. You even have a few things I would never have tried.
Rick


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

I'm new to this area and planting. However, I love the look of Winterberry Winter Red. I have seen it zoned at 3 but mostly 4. Does anyone know if this would survive. I am "officially" in z4 but really temps fall into z3. Maybe they take snow coverage into consideration? I am just south of the Manitoba border in ne Dakota not far from the Minnesota border. Thanks


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Lesley, this is such a long thread now, first I need to make sure you are talking about Ilex verticillata, a deciduous holly.

It is more difficult to zone push woody plants as opposed to perennials. On the other hand, so many have never been tried in colder zones that you just don't know. Realize also that any holly is either male or female, and you must have at least one of each to get any berries on a female plant at all.

Now, most Ilex verticillata cultivars(named varieties) are from more southerly or easterly regions. In otherwords less hardy zones. This holly likes very moist conditions. In the wild they grow in acid soils at the edge of, or in swamps. If you can't provide ample moisture and acidity, it will also affect winter hardiness. Then there is also the problem of males and females blooming at the same time. As cultivars are from different parts of the country this can be a problem. If you think you want to try them, I have a chart of which males will bloom compatibly with which females. Email me for info.

Ilex verticillata can definitely be hardy with the right genetics. I have seen wild populations growing 3 miles south of Canada in Minnesota.

Rick


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

I just bought a house last December, and being a garden nut, and wanting to always have that which is not hardy here I tried streching some fun things. (what a bad year for it huh?) However reading Kate and Dave's luck with Cornus kusa makes me feel better about mine. Has anyone grown Parrotia persica? I would like to know if anyone has had good or bad luck. I also have planted two needle palms.... up until the -20's (which I have convinced myself has not acctually happened and everything is still alive and good to go)they looked really good. I have them in a cage of leaves and thinsulate. I also have planted 10 Musa basjoo..... which I have a little less hope for but you never know. I am a wholesale perennial grower so I got them for cheap and will keep on trying them. Has anyone gotten any really different perennials to make it, I am really curious. After reading about peoples experiences with Calluna and Erica I am considering pulling them from my line, however I have heard of beautiful heather gardens in Winter Wisconsin....never been there though. All I know is I planted 2 in my garden and they aren't looking so hot. Funny the palms look great, but the Heathers terrible.


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

  • Posted by jfruth Central Minn. (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 2, 05 at 7:38

I developed a black raspberry that thrives here in North Central Minnesota and typica;;y sell about 1,000 plants per year. Now I'm working on developing a peach and am having successes.


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

I'd be interested to hear more about that - are you actively crossing cultivars and/or wild fruits, or are you selecting seedlings to achieve your new varieties?


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

I grew a Parrotia persica 'Select' and a Parrotia persica (straight species). They were in good rich garden soil, pH 7. The species lasted 4 years. 'Select' lasted 6 years. Both were slow growing (2-3 inches a year). Neither ever exhibited fall color, not even a hint.

I have a friend who said he was going to experiment with growing banana as a perrenial. Don't know which species, I assume it was basjoo. Hopefully I'll see him at the Home and Garden show tomorrow. I'll ask him about it.

I think Calluna's are tough to grow, but not necessarily so with Erica's. I grew Erica carnea (Springwood Pink, I think) for 5 years. I was definitely a favorite plant. Because it bloomed SO early, it bloomed for at least two months. Then I had to transplant it and it immediately died. Better believe it when the books say they don't like transplanting.

Jfruth, I too am interested in anything you have to say about your fruit breeding endeavors. What parentage are you using, for example. Start a new thread. I think everyone's interest would be piqued.

Rick


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

  • Posted by Paul_ z4/5 MI (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 10, 05 at 14:22

Out of zone, hmmm. Well here's what immediately came to mind -- this is in zone 5, northern lower Michigan:

calla lilies -- middle of backyard by bird bath, no protection/shelter or special treatment of any kind [matter of fact, when I dug these up to reposition, one corm was the size of a small grapefruit/large baking potatoe -- gave that one away to a friend of mine]

Glads [not the types sold as 'hardy'] -- along house in raised bed as well as out back by shed

dusty millers [typical 'annual' variety from local box stores]-- have some that are over 8 years old [not reseeds] now best success in raised bed, but also in yard under red maple and out back by edging birdbath bed, no mulch

snapdragons [not reseeds] -- some of these are 3 or 4 years old along house as well as under red maple, no mulch [mature plants do tend to die out after a few years]

dahlia -- a few have survived in raised bed for several years

anemone decans -- only a couple have survived, didn't realize when I bought them that they weren't actually hardy for my zone : (

Have had a canna come back a couple of years running up against the house in a raised bed


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

I've decided I'm going to try planting a couple of small fig (Ficus carica) trees next to my house on the south side.

I know I'll have to bundle/wilt-pruf/cover/wrap/mulch/insulate like mad, but since my figs can take very cold weather when wrapped and overwintered in an attached but unheated garage (and I mean the dirt/soil frozen rock solid!, temps down to zero) I want to see if well protected and heavily mulched, if they couldn't in fact survive a winter outside.

My garage has gotten a lot colder than the absolute minimum temperatures that I've read even the hardiest fig can survive....

I'll have to keep them pruned small (more like fig 'bushes') but after endless discussions in the Fig Forum on chill time, and just how cold fig trees (root systems) can survive overwintered in garages, basements, etc., I'm going to give it a shot. I've found a source that claims their figs are hardy when protected to zone 5/6 (Brown Turkey) I will continue to overwinter all my other more 'delicate' figs in the garage.

So, this years 'zone-stretching' experiment is going to be a couple of small Brown Turkey Fig trees! (And if you've never had a fresh ripe fig, you have NO idea the bliss you've missed!).


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

When I was in Columbus, OH I heard of people growing Brown Turkey as a die back perennial outside. I never thought our growing season would be long and warm enough to get any ripe fruit. But you have?

What other species of "hardy" fig have you been playing with?

Rick


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

I have a 'Brown Turkey' fig in a pot and I get figs on it, but I never know when they are ripe, so I've never eaten any of them.

I guess I'll have to take some cuttings and try one of them outside on the south side of my house.

So, how do you tell when a fig is ripe?
Thanks,
Mike


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

I have a Brown Turkey-type clone ('Hardy Chicago', allegedly) that has survived easily outside for many years, but... since it dies back so heavily - to the ground without protection, leaving up to a foot or more of live wood with enough heaped over it - it has never once tried to set fruit. I thought it might since ones I saw in Chicago seemed to be doing just that, fruiting on new wood from the base. I've since hacked off a piece to grow in a pot, but even then the fruit never seems to get quite ripe enough to eat. Once it reached a point where it seemed so, it lifted off the plant easily and had a relatively good color, but I found the inside bland (kind of like corn syrup, but not as good) and the tender skin left a slightly soapy or metallic flavor in my mouth. Not terribly pleasant! I can't imagine the fruit could have ripened on the plant any more, though.


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

I grew up/lived (Turkey and South Carolina) in areas where fig trees were common (we had them in the back yard, etc.) so I've been going through fig withdrawal until recently when I decided to go the potted fig tree route.

Sweetness of the fruit is (from what I've read/been told) determined by growing conditions (they like long, warm, sunny summers) and, like other fruiting tree/plants, it can vary with the individual tree itself. I know I have two dwarf apple trees, same variety, etc., and you can tell the difference (one is sweeter, the other is more 'mushy'). Then there's the 'dark' fig versus 'light' fig debate...some claim the darker figs have a more intense flavor -others prefer the lighter (so called 'white') figs.

Last year was my first full year of going the potted fig tree route and I was actually surprised with how much fruit even some (but not all) of these 'baby' trees put out. I have several varieties and it varied with varities... My favorite (so far) was a Strawberry Battaglia (or Verte)...The Italian Honey was also very good. My Celeste & Brown Turkeys seemed to go from good to downright bland. I'm hoping this year to give them a longer, more optimal growing condition-I got a Harbor Freight greenhouse late last fall as a birthday present and didn't have time to put it up. I'm going to put it up and either use that or a temporary plastic sheeting 'hoop house' to help them get a jump on the growing season (and might use it to extend the season as well).

Surprisingly enough I don't have a Chicago Hardy...I got one from Edible Landscaping last year (I was surprised at how puny it was, especially for the price!) and it was stressed when I got it and never really recovered. My favorite places for figs are Burnt Ridge Nursery and Paradise Nursery.

Among the figs I have are:
Brown Turkey
Celeste
Italian Honey
Strawberry Battalgia (or Strawberry Verte)
Alma
Violette de Bourdeaux

I'm going to try to beat the 'die back' issue by wilt-pruf and wrapping in burlap and then basically surrounding the wrapped trees in a bin of mulch. Yah, I know, a lot of work *laughing*... And to think that when I was growing up I always considered the fig tree in the back yard to be a kind of nuisance, what with the mess caused by birds, dropping fruit and the swarms of japanese beetles it attracted!

As far as ripeness, I've always basically gone by touch...when they get really, really soft and feel like any minute they might drop off-that's when I pick them. I'd have to say the majority of my little figs didn't have time to ripen their fruit before the weather started getting cold.

Fig trees seeem pretty immune from most of the bug and disease issues ...only problems I've had were rabbits, squirrels and family members... Oh the coveting, the threats of violence, the deceptions (me?, you think I picked and ate those three ripe figs?) I guess the birds here in Minnesota don't know about the bliss of a ripe fig-which is fine with me, I supply them with plenty of elderberries, gooseberries, apples, pears, hansen and nanking cherries...they can leave the figs to me!

Again, this is going to be an experiment....I'm certainly no expert by a long shot...


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Newbie to gardening

I guess the subject says it all. If you read my profile, you can get a hint of what I am going through. What I really need right now is a good ground cover that can withstand a lot of abuse and smaller trees that have a deep taproot and no shallow roots to plant fairly close(10 ft or so) to the house and walkways. The house is sitting on a slope from the backyard to the street and I would like to have the front yard terraced to get rid of the grass that is hard to mow, that means I need to learn about gardening


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Hi there Mimi,
Welcome to the MN GW forum! There are many great folks here who would love to help you with this question, but you might not get too many responces to your question here at the bottom of this "Zone stretching" post. You might try to start with a new posting with it's own title ( easy to find at the bottom of the MN forum) instead of posting a new question at the bottom of another (possibly) unrelated titled post. More folks could view it, and give you more help!!
Best to you,
Julie


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Michele, what do you think would happen if you did this: instead of letting the majority of fruit go to pot because the season isn't long enough, what if you pluck all the later fruits off?

1. Would the remaining fruit just get larger and still need the same number of warm days to ripen?

2. Or would the ripening be delayed because, with the fruits growing larger, it would take longer for the fruit to become stable in growth and begin the ripening process?

3. Or would the ripening begin earlier?

I suppose I should be asking this in the fig forum. Oh well.
Rick


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Leftwood... I haunt the Fig Forum on a daily basis....
I've not brought up my 'experiement' on overwintering a fig outside here in zone 4 on that forum since I know they tell me I was crazy and wasting my time for even trying....

Since figs don't ripen after they've been picked-it's best to leave them on the tree as long as possible.
The longer/warmer the 'growing' season the more likely you are to get figs to ripen, and get sweeter figs at that. This is why for my 'potted' figs I am going to try to extend the season as long as possible (give them an early start inside and hoop-house them in the fall as long as possible).


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

I suspected that would be true for the picked unripe fruit, but how do you think thinning out the younger fruit would affect the ripening of the older fruit left on the tree?


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Here is an update:

VVGarden,

I had a needle palm that appeared to make it through last winter, but died in early summer. I brought back a "huge" specimen from FL and will plant it this spring. I am also experimenting with Musa basjoo and Ficus carica...

Here are some nice surprises:
Abies pinsapo 'Glauca' - in container, only a few leaves for protection (not foliage) minimal needle burn
Cedrus libani ssp. stenacoma - completely perfect, not a brown needle (upside down garbage can for protection)
Pinus rigida x taeda - no protection, no damage
Magnolia virginiana - no protection, mostly defoliated, but still green stems to the tips and some leaves retained where protected by snow

Still too early to tell:
Nothofagus antarctica (prostrate form) - dead leaves, but shoots look o.k.
Pinus sabiniana - many brown needles
Pleioblastus 'Aureovariegata'


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Jason,
I'll be surprised if your Magnolia virginiana leafs out this spring. I had the cultivar 'Wilson' (trade name Moonglow) that is supposed to be hardy to zone 4, but the plant never leafed out. The plant looked great except for the loss of most of the leaves. The stems were still green and the buds looked great, too, but the plant never pushed any new growth and I waited until the end of June before I pulled the plant out.

You'll need to let us know if the plant leafs out this spring.

My two Sequoiadendrons have a little winter-burn on them, but I think they are going to make it through the winter! I may have to plant one in the ground this spring just to see what happens. I think I need to plant one of these two plants where the ground will stay fairly dry during the winter.
Mike


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Bracken's Brown Beauty southern magnolia

planted two years ago. Survived a tougher winter last year and this winter was relatively mild. It does lose all it's leaves and looks raggy but I'm hoping the flowers will be worth it.


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Does anybody in Zone 4 have a Fothergilla 'Blue Mist'?


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Fothergilla is a rabbit magnet of mega watt proportions in my yard. I finally gave up.


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

I have Fothergilla 'Mt. Airy' in my garden and I have not had any hardiness problems at all.

I had the plant in a pot for two years before putting the plant in the ground and the plant displayed great fall color while in the pot, but since putting the plant in the ground, the fall color has been nonexistent. The plant does have nice spring flowers.

I also have ALL of my plants surrounded with chicken wire to thwart the evil bunnies, which number in the millions. (Where's a coyote, or two, or fifty, when you need them?) I could not have a garden without the chicken wire. The chicken wire doesn't look the greatest, but the chicken wire allows me to purchase and plant small plants that would otherwise be destroyed by the bunnies. Last fall I forgot to protect my Tsuga canadensis 'Palomino' and this spring the plant is gone - just a stub with a couple of small branch "nubbins". The little 12" plant had been in my garden (in the ground) for approx. 8 years and the bunnies wiped it out, probably, overnight.

On a positive note, I now have some open real estate to plant something else!
Mike


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

I just ordered a 'Mt. Airy' this weekend, being unsure about the 'Blue Mist', although it always sounds so good in the catalogs. Mike, how large has your 'Mt. Airy' gotten? (I too, have lots of hardware cloth cylinders.) My katsuras (2) are covered with leaf buds, as is parrotia persica, and magnolia 'Elizabeth' has big fat flower buds -- all 4 planted last year.


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Can I cry too, Mike? I was just at my parent's where I use to garden. My Tsuga canadensis 'Minima' of 21 years - every bit of bark, eaten away. On the plus side? Well it will make a very interesting skeleton. I'll have to think about that some more.
Rick


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Rick,

I'm so sorry to hear that. What a bummer!

I feel bad because my plant was 8 years old and just a youngster, but your plant had reached legal drinking age and then was cut down (sorry for the pun) in its prime.

I would be furious if I lost a plant that old.

My dad has been killing the bunnies in his yard with a BB gun. I wasn't aware that a BB gun could kill ANYTHING, but apparently that's not true.

I'm going to get me a BB gun and go bunny hunting! (said with a back-woods accent) (o:).

Not that I could even make a dent in the bunny population (which numbers in the millions, I'm sure), but getting rid of the bunnies that feed in my yard will sure make me feel better.
Mike
(OK, my head is covered and I'm ready for the onslaught of hate remarks because of my intention to kill the bunnies. Keep in mind that there are no natural predators to help keep the bunny population in check, in the city).


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Mike,

Yes, BB guns can kill rabbits. So can a swift shovel to the head, if you can get close enough to suprise them, and young ones can be stomped to death quite easily. I had a young rabbit fall into my water garden last summer--I couldn't let him drown, so I fished him out with a rake and gave him to the dog to eat. The dog and I were both happy.

If a rat or mouse were eating prized plants, most people would not think twice about dispatching them to rodent heaven. Rabbits are simply cuter members of the rodent clan, only way more destructive. I think true gardeners who think killing them is wrong must be limited to those who do not suffer devastating losses from them season after season. Each year it seems previously untouched plants becomes a target.

If any "bunny lovers" want to send me hate mail, I would prefer you to come and live trap them, take them home to your gardens and let them hedonistically eat and destroy them, you are quite welcome to do so. Otherwise, the BB gun, the shovel, the dogs, and the boot (not to mention a lot of fencing) are the only way I know to take care of/fend off those fat rats with short tails and wiggling noses.

If you can think of any other methods Mike (maybe you should email me privately!), I'd love to hear them.

Kate


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Where I am at, in Sauk Rapids, Mn I have a large Sassafrass Tree outside the window in front of me.

It had four trunks, one dead, when I moved-in, and now it lost another to trunk rot last summer.

I probably should have let the suckers grow as I have been fighting them for twenty years, but now I'll probaly wish I had not.

I have been wanting to plant Tulip Tree at my ma's house in Hutchinson, but I do not want to start with a little whip, and have not been able to find a nursery north of the Mason-Dixon line that sells large trees.(I did find one,almost north, and it would not have been cheap, but I could not find a way to ship one large tree.)
Do any of you know of any?

I almost bought a larger, not large, Sequoia, from out west, but is it possible to get on to survive the winter in Hutch?

I want a fast growing, or exotic tree, for ma's yard, but finding a nursery not 500 miles away is hard.
I will pay large shipping fees (to a point), but as I said, they do not ship one tree.
I want something, probably out of zone, but not a little sapling.
Any ideas?
Bob

PS--My first choice would be a English Oak(no problem with hardiness there)but I am not planting it for my children, I want to see a "TREE" before I die, and unless I live to be 199,that is not likely starting with anything less than 2+ inches in diameter, but something like a Sessile Oak would be far more interesting due to rareness.


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

I wouldn't bother with Sequoia. They are grown here in coastal Massachusetts with some success. The largest ones locally I have seen are very very old and probably 50-60 feet tall--pretty tiny for a Sequoia. SO they grow slowly here and our climate in winter is very damp and cool, and we normally do not have any sub-zero temperatures. Sequoia do not like extremely cold, dry, windy weather, which is certainly common during MN winters. So even if it does survive, watching it grow would be a painfully slow process and it sounds like you want a large tree sooner rather than later.


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Mike: Just wondering if you received and planted your M. Grandiflora "24-Below" this spring. I can't wait to hear how it works out for you. I've been meaning to ask you if "24-Below" is the official name of the cultivar? The two varieties sold here at local nurseries are the Bracken Brown Beauty and Edith Bogue. I think I mentioned to you some time ago that I have a "large" (10 feet) Bracken Brown and I just planted a small Edith Bogue this spring for a comparison. I have read that the Edith Bogue is claiming to be the hardiest cultivar (to -24, so is your plant really an Edith Bogue????). Also, after checking out some old specimens of both in my area, I have noticed that the Edith Bogue has a much more stiff branching structure so it holds up better to heavy wet snow. So if you try another, I would go with Edith Bogue.


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Well, I don't live in Minnesota(I was looking through the site and found this thread interesting). I live in Chicago, zone 5b.But I do have a pretty interesting circumstance. I've gotten a canna to survive the Chicago winters. Well I think it was kind of an accident,but I planted some cannas at my parents house(I do a lot of my gardening there,as they have a large yard,well large compared to my city-postage stamp yard anyway). My mothers main garden is off of the south-facing wall of the house, and that is where I planted the canna. It was near the wall and there is a row of bricks between the garden and the foundation of the house. I think the canna grew underneath the bricks to the wall,as the space is to small for me to plant a rhizome there, and I dont remember trying to stick one in there. This was about four years ago,maybe five and the thing is still coming up every year. I was amazed when it came back the first year. So was my mother. I've heard they are hardy to zone 7,so it appears that my moms south wall garden is a couple of zones higher that the rest of the area. I tried that here,at my apartment building. Didn't work. But a couple of blocks away there is a school with tons of cannas sprouting up as we speak! They are along the south and east facing walls. Go figure. I also couldn't get a musa basjoo to survive this winter and they are supposed to be hardy here. Ditto with a passiflora incarnata and a Chinese ground orchid. I've heard variously that they are either to zone 5 or 6,so I figured if cannas could survive here somehow,I could get them to. I guess I was wrong, although I think I want try again. I wonder if my garden is more exposed and if I didn't mulch deeply enough. It was also mildy cool and wet this January,so I wonder if they rotted.
I'm tempted to try an 'Edith Bogue' magnolia and try my luck with a mimosa tree. But they are trees and I dont really have a place to put them.
Brian


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

  • Posted by poiu 10b/11 (My Page) on
    Mon, May 15, 06 at 23:59

Rick, are you sure you are not incorrectly using the term "genotype" more as what a "phenotype" is? The genotype is the complete genetic material--whether expressed or not. The phenotype is what is actually expressed. I am also not sure if you are familiar with "ecotype" either.

Although I agree with your comment about genetic adaptation taking time, the Fraxinus example can still be problematic in that regionally, a gene for cold hardiness for the tree may not be typically expressed in Georgia populations, and thus would perish in Minnesota. Although the gene IS in the Georgia ash trees, it can be turned off in that population (an ecotype); and thus, if a tree in Georgia was moved to MInnesota, it is quite possible it would perish if that specific tree does not have the gene completely turned on to create the proteins, blah blah to ensure harsher winter survival ability. A terrific example of the ecotype is Acer rubrum. A FLorida native ACer rubrum will FAIL survival in a MInnesota and a MN native Acer rubrum will perish if planted in Florida. Same genotype, different phenotype (as a definite ecotype within the species).

In another example, it is recommended to not secure woody plant materials far out of your cold hardiness range. Every plant in a species is similar, but still has terrific genetic variation possibilities. Forsythias, for example, grow in a nursery in Tennessee may not have the same caliber of cold hardiness all across the number of plants. If there are 10 forsythia plants at a nursery in Nashville, they will all survive that zone 7 winter, but, it is very possible that 3 of those forsythias do not have the "cold hardiness gene for survival below -10", and thus, those particular plants WOULD perish in Minnesota, but still survive in Tennessee. If these 10 plants always grew in Tennesee, one would never know which truly was the hardy since they would not be naturally selected/killed off by an unlike -10 event there.

In Human Terms--we all have hte SAME GENOTYPE (except those with true genetic abnormalities such as XXY, XO, etc), but the PHENOTYPE is different. The phenotype is what is physically expressed. I can guarantee that I have the same 99.99% genetic code in me as anyone on this board; BUT I likely will have some expressed gene here and there that will predispose me to a certain medical/deliterious condition as someone else may be totally protected from it because their code is expressed in their body so that they are immune.

I also recall much uncertainty in human genetics from university coursework about the simple "genotype" as you put it, regarding the races. We all have the code to be very darked skinned or havea different shaped eye, etc. It's through developmental factors by the genes of hte parents, perhaps selected through adaptations that the PHYSICAL (phenotype)is different, but the genotype (the inherihent code of that species) is the same.

Perhaps we are making the same point but with a different perspective. I even am confused now with my point--am I supporting your comment now or acutally arguing against it! ;) I didn't read your paper, it sounds as if it's conifer genetics.

My point is the use of genotype versus phenotype (which I think you made a personal definition) and also the reality of ecotypes.


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OK What happened to the -24 Magnolia??

Just curious


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

My best example is a star jasmine. I did a MN flip on it, buried it with the roses. We did it on a lark, we couldn't get it in the house it was so big (grow it in a whiskey barrel half). Sure enough, when spring sprang, and I chipped my bushes out of the ground, I planted the jasmine and away she went!! Now, in case you didn't know, star jasmine is a zone 8 - 10 plant, who occasionally handles zone 7...


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I need help..

There was this large plant, ok, mammoth pretty much covers it, in the wooded display garden at rice creek nursery (which closed down this past summer) that resembled a Gunnera. The sheer size of the planting makes me believe it was impossible that they were newly planted year after year. So, either it's a freak of nature, a gunnera cultivar or something just like it that is hardy up here in Minnesota. Any ideas? They were just too huge!! I've got to have them. :)


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Sorry to drop in uninvited, but I did live in Minnesota for 30 years and I know exactly what trooperchix is talking about cuz I used to make pilgrimages out to Rice Creek Gardens.

The plant is Petasites japonicus var. giganteus (Giant Butterbur). From Japan obviously. Wants real moist soil to waterside conditions. Allegedly VERY aggressive which is why I never tried it.

BTW we do zone stretching down here too. Except it's people desperately trying to grow hostas, peonies and "northern" plants. Aren't we gardeners something else?!

Good gardening,
Monica

Here is a link that might be useful: Pix of Petasites


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Hey Rick, I myself am extremly impressed in what you're growing, being I live in zone 4 here in Warren,MN. But I have mentioned as well I'm interested in growing two types of palms on my property, the Sable minor palm, also known as the McCurtain palm; McCurtain palm which is native to McCurtain county of Oklahoma, and although they get pretty cold down there, but not like what we get up here; and those palms down there survive with cold, snow; and freezing temps as well, but then again, not to the extent and severity of what we get up here. and there is the Needle palm, Rhapidophyllum hystrix which has been known to survive down to minus -25F below zero, so you just cant help and wonder, if this palm can survive these extreems, then why not up here in the microclimates of northwestern MN? let me know what you think, and other sub tropicals amongst other plants that aren't tropical, but has a tropical look to them as well. I have heard that some Hellboris are pretty hardy up here as well. Hit me back, and happy gardening in any weather. Merry Christmas to you all as well


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

I once grew peanuts as a vegetable crop just for laughs. They grew, they produced peanuts-but not very succesfully. So I gave up on trying to grow things where they don't belong. I'm quite happy to let those folks down in Alabama grow peanuts while I can enjoy things like Echinacea up here.
BTW-I had a nice conversation with sombody in Seattle once and she related what happens to Echinacea there-it grows and grows and grows and then flops over and still grows. It never gets a freeze back in order to rejuvenate itself.


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Well I've been known to be wrong many times, but frankly, Palmlover, I don't think palms have a prayer up here. Obviously, -25F in, say, Kansas, is not the same as -25F in the Twin Cities here, let alone in Warren. But, anything that would grow back from roots might be a good possibility, like the most cold hardy banana (and heavily mulched over winter). Pawlonia tomentosa is definitely a fun one without mulching. It's a tree that dies back to the ground here, but resprouts with more vigor that a cut down willow. Established ones will easily grow twelve feet in a season with very large leaves too. However usually, the sprouts don't branch, so you might want to let several grow. Another one to try is Magnolia tripetala - 2 foot leaves, and if you happen on the right seed source, it could be completely hardy even for you. Protect the trunk in winter from frost cracking. They are susceptible.

Simple to grow and very tropical looking is the annual Castor Bean (Ricinus sp.). And if you have moist or wet areas, petasites and its relatives will look quite tropical. You also might have fun with the very large growing grasses like Sporobolus wrightii. Or there is a very large growing species of Inula (flower) too, although it doesn't have large leaves.


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

Palmlover, see here:
http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/farnorth/msg1211132530111.html?5

It just might be EXACTLY what you've been looking for.


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RE: Most extreme zone stretching?

I just ordered a chocolate mimosa tree, and I am wondering how this will do in a container, or if I am too far north to plant in ground. I live in the Cincinnati, Ohio area (Northern Kentucky). I want to make sure this will survive. I do not want to make an expensive mistake. If it cannot handle the winter, I thought I would put it in a container and then bring it out of the cold. I would rather leave outdoors, but I'm not absolutely sure about it's hardiness here. Any thoughts, Susan


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