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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

Ceanothus 'Tuxedo': the first black-leaved ceanothus

Posted by Graham Rice on 28 Feb 2010 at 01:57 PM

Ceanothus 'Tuxedo',Fitzgerald Nurseries,black plant. Image: ©Fitzgerald Nurseries.A sport is a small genetic variation in a plant and is usually noticed when it gives rise to a new flower colour or a shoot with variegated leaves. When it’s propagated it can prove to be a valuable new variety.

Black leaved sports are much less common so the arrival of a new black-leaved Ceanothus - the first of its kind - is quite an event. Patrick Fitzgerald of Fitzgerald Nurseries, a wholesale nursery in Kilkenny, Ireland, found this one on his nursery back in 1998 – this is what he says about it on his blog:

“Let me tell you first I was genuinely shocked, out of a batch of about 6,000 young plants of Ceanothus ‘Autumnal Blue’ here was this one plant that definitely was not green.” In fact the foliage is the colour of bitter chocolate.

“Tuxedo proved quite difficult to propagate thereafter,’ Patrick continues, “and it took a lot of work to save the original plant. Eventually I learned it likes sunlight, and lots of it, probably due to the darkness of the foliage. Eventually we produced enough and the rest is our own little piece of Hort history. I managed to grow the first three stable plants from this one plant and from there bulked it up in numbers year by year.”

Ceanothus 'Tuxedo',Fitzgerald Nurseries,black plant. Image: ©Fitzgerald Nurseries.

Grow Ceanothus ‘Tuxedo’ is the same way you’d grow other evergreen ceanothus and with its dark foliage it would show up especially well against a pale wall or fence. It will flower prolifically in summer and autumn. Now perhaps it will sport again – to a variegated form!

You can order Ceanothus ‘Tuxedo’ from these RHS PlantFinder nurseries and it’s also available in garden centres across Britain. And Irish gardeners in particular can find out more about his plants at his My Plants website.

Comments

Ron Sparks' Economic Plan | RootsWire | Educational Alabama said:

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on 01 Mar 2010 at 02:05 AM

News from www.HortiTrends.com – Pat Fitzgerald successfully using social media tools to promote MyPlant range and FitzGerald Nurseries at home and abroad « HorticultureTrends's Blog said:

Pingback from  News from www.HortiTrends.com –  Pat Fitzgerald successfully using social media tools to promote MyPlant range and FitzGerald Nurseries at home and abroad « HorticultureTrends's Blog

on 01 Jun 2010 at 07:04 PM