a blood red replacement for a burning bush

ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5October 26, 2013

lets say you had a friend ... and they had this plant ...

and in a effort to force them to get rid of it ... you wanted to buy them.. as a gift.. a near look alike .. color-wise ... plant ..

and then go and help them dig out the other.. and plant the gift ...

what would you suggest ... zone 5 or colder ...

and if we find something.. would you be willing to chip in and buy this gift.. lol ...


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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

I would choose an Enkianthus of some sort. It's not common and doesn't self seed all over. Hardy to Zone 3.
Here's one of mine. The rest will color up later due to different exposures. The picture taken was looking south with the Enkianthus on a small north facing slope in partial shade.
Would I buy it for my friend? Depends on the friend and the price.
Yes Ken, the blue is a phone booth. I think I have one of the few left. ;-)

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 11:07AM
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hortster(6a, southcentral KS)

I'd vote for the red chokeberry, Aronia arbutifolia. Redder than a stoplight with red berries. Can get a bit leggy, and the plant spreads slowly with expanding sucker growth. Having said all that, it is an eye stopper in the fall.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 12:48PM
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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23 USDA 9)

Hmmm No burning bushes and well above zone 5. Whew! MY garden is not ken's target. ;)

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 4:03PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Mike, the phone company has probably sent people out multiple times to remove your phone booth. When the technicians get out there, they are so enchanted with your landscape that they forget what they are there for and go back empty handed, dreaming about what they can do with their own place.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 9:19PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Mike isn't the hardiest species Enkianthus campanulatus and borderline zone 5? Perhaps the zone 3 comment was a typo or is there something else out there that is more hardy?

For a bulletproof plant you'll want to go for V.trilobum or dentatum. They have the best intense red fall color for shrubs in our area. Depending on the cultivars and pollinators they bloom and fruit! How can your friend not want to upgrade?

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 10:28PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

Sunset lists Enkianthus at zones 3-9 and then lists E. campanulatus at zones 2-9.
OK, I see where I made a mistrake. I used Sunset zones, not USDA.
Sorry for the confusion. I know better. Duh.
My other books list it as USDA zones 6-9.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 7:38AM
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Itea. Ours are still holding leaves in Zone 6, while the BB's are past their prime for the season. Plus the added benefit of flowers.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 8:45AM
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Perhaps a vaccinium. Can't beat that red color.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 10:59AM
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jimbobfeeny(5a IN)

Pinkshell azalea (Rhododendron vaseyi)? It's more orange than red, but can be stunning! Plus, I'd take those brilliant pink trusses of flowers over Burning Bush any day.

Photo by Mt. Cuba Center

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 8:59PM
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rbrady(5/Eastern Ia)

My suggestion would be Physocarpus "Coppertina". It has wonderful fall color, interesting bark, arching shape and seed heads in winter, and flowers in the spring that contrast with the foliage. It is one of my favorites in my garden. Some other suggestions would include: Fothergillla gardenii, Itea virginica, Viburnum trilobum, and of course any Acer palmatum ("Seiryu" is very bright red).


    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 11:11AM
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I'd second the aronia arbutifolium...

    Bookmark   November 21, 2013 at 2:08PM
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viburnumvalley(z5/6 KY)

Maybe you really need Euonymus carnosus...

    Bookmark   November 23, 2013 at 8:20PM
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Campanula UK Z8

mmmmmm also fond of the common old euonymous europaeus Red Cascade

    Bookmark   November 30, 2013 at 2:09PM
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Coppertina nine bark is lovely, and carefree. Tigers Eye Sumac is equally as lovely, but spreads to form a copse, nothing equal to it in fall though.
And I know the Tardis when I see it!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 8:33PM
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Lots of good suggestions here, most of which have much longer periods of garden interest than the burning bush. If your soil is acid, you could also try blueberries.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 8:06PM
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Boy that zone 5 is a kicker...well here's my only suggestion.

It's slower growing, but the flowers and berries (and reddish purple foliage that holds a long time), make it superior to the euonymus, Viburnum rufidulum.
Here's a good writeup and everything in photo but fall color:
Here's some fall color:

Don't be frightened by it calling it a small tree. It grows quite slowly and would take consistent pruning well. My plant grew out from a 1 1/2 foot quart pot (or so), to a six foot as wide as tall ball, in about 10 years, and that was with no correction..just natural form in a sunny exposure.
It bloomed the last 4 of those years.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 9:14AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

I would call changing the natural, genetically directed form of a shrub with pruning alteration rather than correction.

Except for one with abnormal structural defects, that most individuals of the species do not present.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 2:18PM
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Lol, wonderful images...I have pets.
So...correction means correcting a behavior you don't want.
Alteration...usually means surgery and umm...you know.

I can see your point in that context too. I typically leave plants natural and alter my pets.

This post was edited by dbarron on Fri, Dec 27, 13 at 16:27

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 3:42PM
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I agree with rbrady. Ninebark 'Coppertina' would be an excellent choice as would Ninebark 'Summerwine'. My Ninebark 'Summerwine' is by a south-east corner of my house and stays ruby red through the month of December here in South-central Kansas. It holds its fall color a lot longer than the Burning Bushes do around here. I'm pretty sure Ninebark 'Coppertina' would behave in a similar way.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 2:46PM
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I second Itea!!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 7:43PM
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A second image of the same plant ('Henry's Garnet')

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 7:49PM
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Henry's Garnet would also be a good option, but make sure you bury some plastic 5" lawn edging around it as it has a tendency to sucker.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 7:09PM
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I'm on the cold end of zone 5 and in my garden Enkianthus campanulatus has grown well for a number of years without any problems such as damage from late spring frosts, tip dieback or any of the issues that borderline hardy plants seem to have. Itea virginica (I had 'Little Henry') had severe tip die back and faded away a bit more each winter for three years until I finally couldn't stand it and shovel pruned it. I know that there are Itea that grow in Durham, NH, but it's on the coast and so warmer. I don't know of any Itea growing successfully in my area.

Coppertina, Rhododendron vaseyi as well as several others of the deciduous rhododendrons, several Viburnums (though I don't know about V. rufidulum), Aronia, and Vaccinium are all fully hardy here for me.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 12:34PM
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