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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

Peach 'Crimson Bonfire': For flowers, foliage and fruits

Posted by Graham Rice on 15 Jan 2013 at 01:39 PM

Grow patio peach 'Crimson Bonfire' for its flowers, foliage and fruits. Images ©YouGarden.comOne of the themes of the year is multi-season and multi-use plants, plants that provide different pleasures at different seasons. In fact I've written a whole book on the subject, and it's just out.

This impressive little peach, ‘Crimson Bonfire' (left, click to enlarge), has two distinct and valuable features in addition to its succulent fruits. The fruits themselves are dark red,  almost purple, and gold in colour taking the tones of their colouring from the foliage.

And the leaves are such an impressive deep burgundy colouring, almost black at times, that ‘Crimson Bonfire' is worth growing as a foliage plant. And then there are the flowers, sweetly scented pink blossoms that open later than the flowers of most peaches and so are less likely to be damaged by frosty.

Although ‘Crimson Bonfire' will set fruits without being pollinated, brushing a little pollen from flower to flower - a kids' painting brush is ideal - will improve fruit set greatly. The juicy fruits ripen in late August and early September, and what a treat to pick them off your own patio tree.

Completely hardy down to -15C/5F, though definitely benefiting from shelter, ‘Crimson Bonfire' is grafted on to a dwarfing rootstock and reaches about 5ft/1.5m in five years. I asked Martin Rowe of You Garden about that dwarfing rootstock. "Our plants are grafted on an old Spanish rootstock that our growers will not tell us about - all these dwarf types for gardens are a bit like the Colonel's secret recipe!"

Martin also pointed out that, as with most varieties of peach, leaf curl can be a problem. He recommends keeping the foliage dry, perhaps with fleece or by careful siting of the plant.

‘Crimson Bonfire' is not brand new. You Garden came across it in Germany a couple of years ago, but I missed it when it first appeared and it seems to have escaped the attention of many other gardeners.

Dwarf patio peach ‘Crimson Bonfire' is available from You Garden, and from Pomona Fruits, and from Blackmoor Nurseries.



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