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Albizzia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate' .... miserable here???

Posted by ian_wa Sequim (My Page) on
Mon, Sep 28, 09 at 20:41

These have been shipped up to the Seattle area and beyond from Oregon and California by the hundreds over the last few years. How are they doing? Any good examples of it actually doing well and getting big in the ground? They seem even less excited about our cool summers than the regular species... and less vigorous.

If they could come up with one of these with electric blue flowers maybe I'd buy it... LOL.


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RE: Albizzia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate' .... miserable here??

I've only seen one this summer, and it was struggling.
Also, I noticed that Swansons took out that big beautiful one they had in the front bed...


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RE: Albizzia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate' .... miserable here??

IME, this is just not a very robust plant - we return as many to the grower as get sold because of dieback or inexplicable 'failure to thrive'. I've yet to see one of any size or establishment in local gardens.

Ian, if you are hot for that color combination of dark, chocolately foliage and electric blue flowers, have you seen the new ceanothus intro, 'Tuxedo'? It's being carried by Blooming Nursery locally, so should be available at any retail garden center supplied by them.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ceanothus 'Tuxedo'


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RE: Albizzia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate' .... miserable here??

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Tue, Sep 29, 09 at 14:08

Speaking of Swanson's, I've seen the ceanothus there for some weeks.


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RE: Albizzia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate' .... miserable here??

Thanks - that's kind of what I thought. I might not even bother with it in Sequim, although pics of well grown ones in hotter climates are impressive.

Thanks for the tip on that Ceanothus.


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RE: Albizzia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate' .... miserable here??

  • Posted by bahia SF Bay Area (My Page) on
    Fri, Oct 2, 09 at 1:23

I saw some of this Albizzia thriving in Modesto, California earlier this summer, and they had a bunch of really nice looking ones for cheap at the local Lowes, but I resisted the urge to bring some home and plant them because I live in Berkeley by the bay, and we just don't have the hot weather they love. I also think this is one of those plants best given the summer heat it prefers.

Anyone familiar with the background on the Ceanothus 'Tuxedo'? This seems to have appeared out of no where last year, or maybe I missed seeing it around earlier. It seems it just starting showing up in retail nurseries, and I had never seen one at any of the local botanic gardens. If anyone actually has photos of one that is larger sized and already blooming, I would love to see it. I've only seen this around in the tiny 4 inch pots so far...


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RE: Albizzia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate' .... miserable here??

It is a very new introduction (2007) from Fitzgerald Nurseries in Ireland. It was discovered as a sport on Ceanothus 'Autumnal Blue', a late blooming hybrid of C. thrysifolia and one of the east coast natives (possibly C. americana) so the plant should have reasonable cold hardiness. I've seen it in #1 sizes and it looks very much like a regular thrysifolia except for foliage color. Mature size is said to be similar as well.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fitzgerald's blog re: 'Tuxedo'


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RE: Albizzia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate' .... miserable here??

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Sat, Oct 3, 09 at 12:40

If it has the same flowering habit as 'Autumnal Blue' that is noteworthy. Last time I was at Swanson's, earlier this week this item was being displayed on shelves to the left of the west door of the central greenhouse (with bulbs, information counter etc.) - with a conspicuous 40% off sign placed among the pots.

The purple silk tree is a seedling that appeared in Japan, was brought to us via Hines nurseries. One year I saw other purple seedlings among a batch of green ones on offer at the Skagit Valley Gardens retail outlet south of Mt Vernon. So, it might be possible to get your own purple-leaved one by planting and growing silk tree seeds. Purple variants are certainly frequent among seedlings of Cordyline australis, while presumably not as usual with silk tree maybe not so rare as the Hines introduction might imply.

I've noticed stock of the Japanese selection going bronze or even brown during summers in pots at garden centers here. Somehow I have not been able to come up with 100 bucks for a 5 gallon pot of a silk tree that may become even more blah-looking during the season than the purple honeylocust.


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RE: Albizzia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate' .... miserable here??

The Albizzia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate' we saw in our EdCC class in Ciscoe's garden in mid August looked fine. It is still a smallish plant - about 3-4 feet, but fairly filled out and looked great among some large leafed shrubs.

I'm not sure how to post a pic here from my computer, but I could email one, I think, to anyone who wants to see what it looked like.


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RE: Albizzia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate' .... miserable here??

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Sat, Oct 3, 09 at 14:07

Purple-leaved plum and Japanese maple cultivars vary with site conditions, this may also.


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RE: Albizzia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate' .... miserable here??

Mine is doing fine here near Seattle, Wa.

Vigorous grower, full sun and plenty of water.


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RE: Albizzia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate' .... miserable here??

  • Posted by bahia SF Bay Area (My Page) on
    Thu, Oct 15, 09 at 2:12

Then you won't want to hear that 3 foot tall well branched Albizzia 'Summer Chocolate' were going for less than $20/3gallon container at the Lowes in Modesto, Ca. At this price I was tempted myself, as I had never seen them so big or so cheap here in Berkeley/San Francisco. Ultimately I didn't bite either, as I know it would grow better with full sun and more heat, a combination difficult to come by in my garden. I've seen photos of a nice one year planted specimen seeming to do well up in Olympia, Washington.


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RE: Albizzia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate' .... miserable here??

Bahia, yes, I saw that photo as well.

Well perhaps I will just wait until they become cheaper, and then get one, so I won't feel like it was a major investment if it fails to thrive.

Remind me... is it illegal to propagate seedlings of patented plants? since they won't be clones of the parent.


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