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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

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Filipendula 'Red Umbrellas': New in the 2011/2012 RHS Plant Finder

Posted by Graham Rice on 07 May 2011 at 12:36 PM

Filipendula.Red Umbrellas. Image: ©Plant Delights NurseryIn the end, I decided to continue my look at the plants new in the latest RHS Plant Finder which are listed by the most nurseries with just one more: Filipendula 'Red Umbrellas'. Top of the list was Actaea pachypoda ‘Misty Blue’, next came Geranium ‘Midnight Clouds’, then Erodium ‘Freedom’, then came Chasmanthium latifolium ‘River Mist’ and then Echinacea purpurea 'Magnus Superior'.

This is an impressive and very hardy perennial which combines attractive foliage (left, click to enlarge) with colourful heads of flowers.

Both new and mature growth is boldly veined in red, sometimes more fully than seen in the picture. The colour stands out brightly against the paler younger growth then, as the leaves mature and develop, both colours darken to give a deep red pattern on dark green leaves. In summer the flowers emerge, flattish rose pink heads bringing a whole new season of colour (below, click to enlarge).

Filipendula,Red Umbrellas. Image: ©Bjørnar OlsenHere I should say that I have revised this blog post and changed it from when I first posted it. Soon after I originally posted this piece I received an email from Norwegian plantsman and nurseryman Bjørnar Olsen who gave me the full story about this plant. This is the great thing about blogging. If you get it wrong, or don’t tell the full story, someone will put you right. Thanks Bjørnar.

It was not, he tells me, “developed in Holland” as I first thought. This plant has been passed around and sold from Norwegian and Swedish nurseries for years,” he told me, “most commonly under the erroneous name "Filipendula palmata 'Nana'", although I'm almost positive it's pure F. multijuga. No one seems to know where it originated, but my own guess would be that it's something brought back by a Scandinavian botanical garden from a collection trip to Japan, there were several during the second half of the last century.”

He also tells me that it's happy in shade, even in southern Norway where the sun is less powerful than farther south, and that it's also relatively drought resistant. Expect it to reach about 16in/40cm in height. And it looks to me like a great plant.

You can order Filipendula 'Red Umbrellas' from these RHS Plant Finder nurseries.

Thank you for images to:
Foliage: Plant Delights Nursery
Flowers: Bjørnar Olsen


Miss B. said:

I bought this during the recent heat wave; despite frequent watering it looked a bit miserable in its first home - a west facing bed that gets radiated heat from the brick house wall. It's now happier in partial shade under a small pear tree. Soil is clay amended with grit and compost. Very pretty plant, I hope it survives the winter.

on 12 Aug 2013 at 10:37 PM