Purple-est cimicifuga?

ginny12June 13, 2007

I have bought several purple-leaved cimicifugas and they turn green over time. Has anyone grown any purple-leafed and stemmed cimicifugas that stay purple? How does Hillside Black Beauty do? These are expensive and I don't want to make a mistake that takes a year or two to discover, on top of the cost.

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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

My black neglige (sp?) has stayed purple. I think I am on year 4.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2007 at 6:31PM
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saypoint(6b CT)

I have Hillside Black Beauty on the north side of the house, but far enough away that it gets morning and afternoon sun, under maple trees with high shade. This is their third year, and they've done great, good foliage color, no pests or problems so far. I wish I'd taken pictures.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2007 at 9:35PM
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WendyB(5A/MA)

Ginny,
what cultivars have you had that have not fared well?

I have 'James Compton' and its not so great color wise. It gets sun from about 9 to 1. I was thinking of trying it elsewhere. Its flower spikes are brown. kinda weird.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2007 at 11:14PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

I have 'James Compton' too. It has stayed a nice purple. Not a bright purple, more a brownish or dull purple. But still a nice color; just quiet. Never gets full sun; it's in bright shade, dappled. Flowers are puffy and white. Wonderful scent. Mine are 3 years old. But it is growing very slowly, and each has no more than one flower stalk..

    Bookmark   June 13, 2007 at 11:40PM
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webkat5(Z6a MO)

The less sun they get, the darker their coloration will be.

I just planted 'Pink Spike' on the north side and it is doing great...getting darker every day.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 12:08AM
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hostared(Z5, IL)

I have three mature ones and all are Black.
Two even get sun almost all day.

Pink Spike, Hillside Black Beauty and Atropurpurea (my first and oldest 7 years now) All black.

Which variety do you have? Is it in to much shade?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 8:47AM
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WendyB(5A/MA)

hmmm... we seem to have conflicting info on sun vs. shade.

I suspect it depends on the cultivar.

I found this article that describes some of the sun/shade requirements within various cultivars/species.

In reading the article there is some complexity regarding the various species. I think there's since been a name change. I think the cimicifuga we mostly grow is now called Actaea (sp?)

Here is a link that might be useful: cimicifuga article

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 9:21AM
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webkat5(Z6a MO)

Yes, they changed the genus name to Actaea, but I prefer Cimicifuga...

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 9:28AM
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ginny12

I just checked my records and I have 'Atropurpurea', bought in 1996 for $24 each. (Wanton spending indeed but I was bowled over.) They are doing very well. They have dark purple stems and the first flush of growth in the spring is purple but then they turn mostly green, as they are now in mid-June.

I have lots (too much) of green cimicifuga so I really, really want a purple that stays purple. But even the Hillside Black Beauty I saw in a good nursery the other day had quite a bit of green. Of course, once a plant is a hot seller, things get sold that aren't the true cultivar.

Mine are in part shade to full shade. I want a grouping in another area that will have more sun but is definitely not full sun. Full sun does not exist in my garden, alas.

And yes, I was surprised to see the name change too. But I'm stickin' with cimicifuga for the time being. Why do they do this to us?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 11:06AM
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ginny12

The stems on mine stay purple--it's the leaves that turn green. The flowers don't do anything much for me.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 11:09AM
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hostared(Z5, IL)

I think Cimicifuga is a much cooler name to say than Actaea anyway...it will always be Cimicifuga for me.

Ginny maybe you may know someone who's stays black and will be willing to share a piece with you. This way you could be sure. Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 6:16PM
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WendyB(5A/MA)

darn, I just saw Hillside Black Beauty at a garden center and it was a great color. Richer than ALL the others there. I almost got 'Pink Spike' - it was better than most - until I saw the HBBs.

And of course I had to get 3 of them to make a statement and boy they were expensive. $25 each. 1.5-2 gallon pots. I just reread Ginny's wanton spending price and I guess I did ok for 11 years later, but it seemed pretty high as I did it.

I'm going to find a place with a little more shade than where my James Compton is.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 7:00PM
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Loretta NJ Z6

I have Hillside Beauty and James Compton. My mother has Black Negligee. I haven't noticed a big difference between them. Maybe my mother's is the darkest. I'll have to check now. This is a picture of JC that I have handy from last year. I don't have pictures of the others right now. It is in shade, overgrown by the surrounding plants. The flowers, not pictured here, are white for me. This plant almost died right after this shot. The cause was a pest. It actually came back this year as a small frond.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 11:49PM
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maureen_ottawa(z4)

Hillside Black Beauty is the darkest. Pink Spike is the tallest. Black Negligee is the fastest growing. James Compton is the shortest. Atropurpurea and Brunette are the easiest to find as they've been around the longest. I've divided these two at least once.

I am finding HBB and Pink Spike somewhat slow growing. But they are also newer. They should be doing their leap in growth next year.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 11:38AM
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mwieder(z5 NE OH)

This article claims Black Negligee is darker then HBB.
http://www.sootoday.com/content/editorials/print.asp?c=331
I only have Black Negligee so I can't compare them.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 12:34PM
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WendyB(5A/MA)

Fwiw, I was just reading an article by Allan Armitage in an old copy of Fine Gardening (yes they are good as "re-runs").

In nov-2003 edition under Plant Picks, his article focussed on 'Brunette' as good leaf color and the most available. Then:

'Atropurpurea' another bronze-leaved cultivar is equally handsome, but leaf color is more variable than with 'Brunette'. I also enjoy HIllside Black Beauty...but spotty availability"

So that could explain Ginny's dissatisfaction with Atropurpurea. Time to go get some new ones!!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 1:54PM
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ginny12

I'm reviving this thread as I never found a purple cimicifuga that someone had grown themselves and stayed purple all season.

I still am searching for the answer because I can just SEE these planted with my purple heucheras.

But they are all expensive and after paying $24 each for plants in 1996--can't believe I did that--and then they went green, I'm not willing to gamble again. So, any suggestions if you grow purple cimicifugas?

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 3:22PM
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ginny12

I'm reviving this thread as I never found a purple cimicifuga that someone had grown themselves and stayed purple all season.

I still am searching for the answer because I can just SEE these planted with my purple heucheras.

But they are all expensive and after paying $24 each for plants in 1996--can't believe I did that--and then they went green, I'm not willing to gamble again. So, any suggestions if you grow purple cimicifugas?

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 3:23PM
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