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 Cussonia paniculata 
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Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 2:25 pm
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Location: Suffolk, UK
Post Cussonia paniculata
Is anyone growing this? I had never heard of it, but thougt it looked interesting so picked a small one up at CGF yesterday.
Does anyone know if it's hardy enough to grow outside here?
Thanks

Pete


Sun Jul 27, 2008 9:07 pm
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Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 8:38 pm
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Location: Ireland
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Hi Pete

I grew one from seed last year and it was doing really well. Unfortunately it didn't survive the winter in the polytunnel. That's just my experience, but then our winter was a pretty cold one.

All the best.

Sue


Sun Jul 27, 2008 9:34 pm
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Location: Loughborough, Leics, central UK
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Mine was ok in my heated greenhouse min probably 0 C Pete


Sun Jul 27, 2008 10:03 pm
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Post Re: Cussonia paniculata
PeteFree wrote:
Is anyone growing this? I had never heard of it, but thougt it looked interesting so picked a small one up at CGF yesterday.
Does anyone know if it's hardy enough to grow outside here?
Thanks

Pete


yes I'm growing one in the ground and is a fast grower. It put on nearly 2 feet of growth last summer. I have another yet to be planted and another unamed Cussionia with leaves more like an Schefflera. They need part shade where I am.


Mon Jul 28, 2008 1:53 am

Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2007 3:54 am
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Location: Berkeley, California
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Hopefully Paul Spracklin will see this post and reply, I think he has been trialing this species for quite some time in his own garden. I can tell you that with age and size this is a proven plant for the worst that coastal California can throw at it. It easily handles -5C as a periodic event, although it can lose the growing point and some trunk at this temperature here, possibly because we don't typically get a slow cool down to properly harden it off. It survived from the roots temperatures much lower than -5C in the December 1989 freeze here, I think it got down to 19F up at the Berkeley Botanic Garden, and lived to tell the tale. I wouldn't expect this degree of hardiness at higher latitudes, but dry winters and a bit of protection in a bad freeze would go a long way towards keeping this happy. This is a personal favorite plant of mine, and I have several that are old enough now to have bloomed and branched, losing their initial palm like form as they become more tree like.

I also grow C. spicata, which is less powdery blue foliaged, and also considerably more tender to winter freezing. It is also far faster growing, and is now a multi-trunked specimen with branching and approaching 20 feet tall, after being cut to the ground and given up for lost in the same 1989 freeze. C. spicata loses all its foliage at about -2C, and even shows damage on occasion right at freezing. I thought it wasn't coming back, because it took a good 9 months to initiate any new growth from the roots, after ground temps of -5C in my garden. Absolutely fabulous plants for a Mediterranean climate garden, and worth growing as indoor house plants or a giant bonsai with exposed caudex in a container where not hardy enough to try outdoors. If I remember correctly, Paul Spracklin's plant(s) are of the two steps forward, one step backward persuasion, and don't quite measure up to the hardiness that this same plant exhibits at 38 degrees latitude.


Mon Jul 28, 2008 3:01 am
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Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 10:09 pm
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Location: Algarve/Portugal
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Love Cussonia they are such sweet and odd looking trees, they seem to be a bit sensitive to overwatering so now I've stopped watering them , they will have to do with what comes to them...naturally

here a pic of my fav Cussonia gamtoosensis
Image

Cussonia spicata

Image

Cussonia palmata

Image

Cussonia natalensis

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Cussonia zuluensis

Image

I've just received Cussonia kirkii supposedly from Queensland,Australia but there is some doubt in my mind ...always thought that Mr.Kirk was solely operating/collecting in Africa...maybe Peter can enlighten us on this species?

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Mon Jul 28, 2008 7:48 am
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Charles Wychgel wrote:
Love Cussonia they are such sweet and odd looking trees, they seem to be a bit sensitive to overwatering so now I've stopped watering them , they will have to do with what comes to them...naturally


I've just received Cussonia kirkii supposedly from Queensland,Australia but there is some doubt in my mind ...always thought that Mr.Kirk was solely operating/collecting in Africa...maybe Peter can enlighten us on this species?


WHo is the contact in Queensland Charles?


Mon Jul 28, 2008 9:16 am
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Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 12:38 pm
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Location: Cape Clear Island, Roaringwater Bay
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I've had a Cussonia spicata planted out for three years now. It's been fine with low temperatures down to just above freezing, and the trunk has never been damaged. It's had all its leaves blown off a couple of times, but it recovers.

There is a nice Cussonia paniculata at Chelsea Physic Garden. I'm not sure whether it receives any winter protection, it may well do. Here's how it looked when I visited in 2005:


Image


Mon Jul 28, 2008 9:32 am
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I have tried both species here. I had a C. spicata that already had around 90cm of good gnarled trunk so I started with that even though, as David says, I had read it was more tender - really as a stop-gap whilst waiting for the paniculata to grow on a bit.

I planted it at the base of my south facing house wall in a bed with other arid-tolerant plants but with a good proportion of soil in the mix. The first winter we had around -4C and the whole thing was cut down to ground level almost immediately at the first hard frost - all the trunk, everything. By the following September mine had grown back vigorously to around 1.5m high. Same thing the next year - completely cut back in winter but, if anything, even more vigorous regrowth... so vigorous, in fact, that is was swamping the other plants in that border. I was forced to move it to somewhere even drier with less soil and, although returning each year, it never quite performed as well.

When I made the changes to the top part of my garden two years ago I dug and potted it and the plant has made a decent recovery overwintering in an unheated glasshouse. I will - next year now - try it planted out again somewhere with that little bit extra in the soil but with good drainage - that leaf shape is worth having, even if I will never get a trunked plant.

When I finally tried the C. paniculata, although it showed greater 'leaf' hardiness and took longer to be frosted back (eventually at around -5C) by contrast with spicata (and pretty much in accordance with David's observations) it didn't ever really make it back.

So it would seem that, against expectation, the more tender C. spicata is the better plant to grow here if you experience enough cold to defoliate/cut back the trunk as long as you expect it to behave as a returning perennial. In a milder climate than here, such as the Californian or coastal Irish/Cornish environment, I guess paniculata would be better if it is a trunked plant that you seek.


Mon Jul 28, 2008 11:03 am
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Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 10:09 pm
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Location: Algarve/Portugal
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Puya wrote:

Charles Wychgel wrote:
I've just received Cussonia kirkii supposedly from Queensland,Australia but there is some doubt in my mind ...always thought that Mr.Kirk was solely operating/collecting in Africa...maybe Peter can enlighten us on this species?


WHo is the contact in Queensland Charles?


Sorry Lee I meant that this IS a tree from Queensland, I bought the plant in France :)

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Mon Jul 28, 2008 11:14 am
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Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 2:25 pm
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Thanks everybody for the info.
Charles - fab pictures, thank you - I'd never even heard of the genus when I bought C paniculata on Saturday, you seem to have quite a collection.
CGF where, I bought it, have labels suggesting:
CUSSONIA PANICULATA subsp.PANICULATA
Cabbage tree, the evergreen digitate leaves develop a bluish colour. Lovely. Hardy to -6C (or below). In prolonged hard frost it loses all its leaves but has so far always recovered for me. (Plant thriving). Bobs Score=9.0

I grew up in the vale of Evesham (near cgf) so know it has quite a mild climate - but think my coastal suffolk garden probably has less cold winters (generally) and definitely my free draining, sandy, Suffolk soil is less wet than the worcestershire clays - so I hoped it might be okay here.

Paul: I guess my microclimate is not too different from yours - so maybe it is risky.

The plant I bought is tiny - only about 6" high and with a caudex about the size and shape of a conker - I think I'll keep it potted in the greenhouse for the remainder of this year and see how it looks next spring before deciding whether to chance it outside.

Thanks again
Pete


Mon Jul 28, 2008 6:59 pm
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Location: Newport, South Wales, UK
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There are definately 2 different variants of Cussonia Paniculata, ive seen the ones that CGF sell and they are really different from the one i have. Mine is from high altitude in Zimbabwe and has been planted out in the garden now for 3 years with no protection at all and has never had any damage at all :D Its seen temps down to -5.7 and still looks great in April :D

The growing point swells in April and a big flush of leaves are born

Image



Image



Image

It is about 1.5 meters tall and by the end of the summer the leaves will be a beautiful bluey silver in colour. It is definately one of my favourite plants, the leaves are so irregular and almost look like they have been munched on by slugs :wink:

Cheers

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Darren


Tue Jul 29, 2008 6:42 pm
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Can anyone tell me about the habitat of these plants?

Clearly they grow in arid conditions, but do they grow in rocky ground and would they be suited to a restricted root run?

If so, they might be an interesting option to add seasonal height on the green roof.

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Tue Jul 29, 2008 7:33 pm
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Hey Darren thats a beauty and it does look different from my CGF type.........nice one. :D


Tue Jul 29, 2008 9:58 pm
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where did you get that from DJ Hobs?

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Martin S


Tue Jul 29, 2008 10:15 pm
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