Asarum weediness etc.

Roy Herold
Fri, 15 Jul 2011 04:59:26 PDT

You should really try A. caulescens as another easy green one. It takes 
a while to get established, but is fine thereafter. Mine is at the base 
of a big Japanese maple where little else would grow. There is a border 
of it at Nikko Temple in Japan that must be 4 feet wide and 500 feet 
long. Stunning.

[getting a bit OT below, geophyte snobs may exit here]

I finally took the plunge and planted out some A. splendens a couple of 
years ago (I'm guessing that's what you meant instead of A. superbum). 
They were fine last winter's deep snow cover. I'm guessing that Ellen 
has no problems whatsoever with it.

Finally, if you want a fancy Japanese asarum that is both beautiful and 
bulletproof, try to find Setsu Getsu Ka. I originally got a plant in 
1995 at a tiny, no-name nursery out in the rice paddies near Matsuyama 
in Japan. It was labeled only as '#2', and cost about three times as 
much as the other asarums I was buying--perhaps $10 at that time. That 
was because it was one of the fancy green-stemmed, green-flowered 
classical cultivars. Asiatica later offered one that looks identical as 
Setsu Getsu Ka, as does Plant Delights. I haven't compared them 
side-by-side, but I'm pretty sure that #2 is the same plant. I have no 
idea what the species might be. The flowers are reminiscent of takaoi, 
but the leaves are larger and better marked.

At any rate, #2 has been in the ground here for over ten years, with and 
without snow, and is very happy growing in pots. The leaves get two to 
three times larger in the ground. It increases like crazy, much faster 
than any other Japanese asarum. This is a bit puzzling, as Tony 
describes Setsu Getsu Ka as 'painfully slow'. I keep planting more and 
more outside, trying to find a spot where it is unhappy, but it just 
keeps going and going. And I have given another dozen plants away to 
friends and plant sales/auctions.

Saruma henryi is another winner, isn't it? I was an early adopter of 
this one, getting plants from a National Arboretum collection around 
1990. No problems whatsoever in that time, nice to look at, and not 
weedy. I'll have to look around for seeds for the BX.

NW of Boston
Zone 6 above the snow
Zone 9 under the snow

More information about the pbs mailing list