Editor’s Note: In this new feature, the Greenhouse Grower varieties team will choose one noteworthy variety we think is worth bringing to your attention. Then we’ll share growers’ and breeders’ perspectives on the best ways to produce it successfully at your operation.
This month we feature Mukgenia ‘Nova Flame,’ an intergeneric cross of Bergenia and Mukdenia. ‘Nova Flame’ is one of a kind, but not an oddity by any means. It develops deep, emerald-green leaves in the spring and has clusters of miniature, Bergenia-like flowers. As fall approaches, ‘Nova Flame’ begins to take on its classic, dramatic coloration with a brilliant, scarlet flame pattern.
Growing Tips From Andrej Suske, T&L Nursery
Andrej Suske, general manager of T&L Nursery in Redmond, WA, says Mukgenia ‘Nova Flame’ is a great new introduction that will work well for spring and fall sales. One of the plant’s most striking features is its fall foliage color. Here are his recommendations for growing ‘Nova Flame’ successfully:
Fertilizer: Normal, EC (electrical conductivity) 1.5
Propagation: Stage 3 tissue culture or buy plugs
Plant Growth Regulators: Not needed
Lighting: Not needed, grown in full sun
Pinching: Not needed
Growing Media: Typical media as used for other crops
Irrigation: Grow just like a normal crop. Suske says, “I imagine you would get leaf burn if they dry out too much. The foliage is what sells the plant. If you run them on the dry side in late summer (but not wilting), you may get more foliage color earlier, which would be attractive.”
Planting/Scheduling: For 1-gallon containers, plant ‘Nova Flame’ in June to get nice full plants. For spring sales, Suske says, growers need to bulk the plant in summer because they do no start growing very early in the spring. “These are deciduous!” he says. “They bloom before they make leaves in the spring.”
Suske grows high-quality container perennials on 40 acres in Redmond, WA. T&L Nursery started 30 years ago as a U-pick operation and now sells plants to independent garden centers and landscapers.
Next: Growing Tips From Lorne Blackman, Walla Walla Nursery