Double Take Pink™ QuinceChaenomeles speciosa ‘Pink Storm’ (PP# 20,920)
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Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Pink Storm’ (PP# 20,920)
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Double Take Pink™ Quince is a thornless rounded deciduous shrub that grows to about 6 feet tall and wide, or even a little more. It blooms in late winter and early spring on the bare branches, and the exceptional blooms are very large and fully double – they look like beautiful pink roses. Blooming lasts for weeks, and then glossy green leaves appear, making an excellent background shrub. Grow it on a wall or fence as an espalier, or out in beds as a background shrub. Trim it into a flowering hedge – you will love it every way possible.
Full sun is the best location for the Double Take Pink™ Quince but a little partial shade in hot zones will not be a problem. This reliable and easy shrub grows well in any well-drained soil, from sand to clay, and it is moderately drought resistant once well-established. It is normally ignored by pests or diseases, and it doesn’t need much care. For the best results prune in spring right after blooming.
The old-fashioned flowering quince is most likely to be found today in your gran’s garden, or around an old property. Once there were 500 varieties, but fashioned changed and most of them have vanished. But what goes around comes around, and suddenly some new varieties of this old favorite are taking gardeners by storm, with plants that are thornless (a great blessing) and that are festooned with large double flowers. You could easily think you were looking at a Sweetheart rose if you saw just one flower of the Double Take Pink Quince. When you do a double take and see that they are in clusters along the bare branches you will realize that this is something very different. There are not so many plants that bloom very early in spring, and in warmer zones even in winter, but this is one of them, and it will become a showpiece in your garden. The glossy green leaves are a good neutral backdrop for your other shrubs through the summer, and you can even make a striking flowering hedge with it. This is one plant that has made the transition from ‘dull and old-fashioned’ to ‘updated desirable heirloom’ to create a dynamic spring in every garden.
The Double Take Pink Quince is a deciduous shrub with smooth stems – no thorns – that are dark mahogany when young and rougher gray-brown when older. It has an upright habit, typically growing to about 6 feet tall and wide, but vigorous and potentially reaching 10 feet each way if left untrimmed. The smooth, glossy leaves are rich green, and they have a tiny saw-toothed edge. They are rounded ovals, about 2½ inches long and 1½ inches wide, and they remain attractive all summer, looking cool and fresh.
Flower buds grow in clusters all along the stems, including at the base of stems that grew in the previous year. In mild climates some buds may even open before Christmas, but in the warmest zones February is more often the blooming time. Usually it is March or early April when the Double Take Pink Quince comes alive, with a magnificent display that lasts weeks. Individual flowers may stay attractive for as long as 3 weeks, depending on temperatures. The flowers are large, a full 2 inches across, which is significantly larger than on most other flowering quince. The blooms are fully double, with up to 40 petals in each bloom, looking like a miniature rose. A bush in bloom – and blooming will be profuse within a few years of planting – is a glorious sight and a highlight of spring. New leaves begin to appear as the flowers are ending, and this variety does not set any fruit.
With its compact and rounded habit – no messy sprawling like older varieties – this shrub is ideal for borders, and among later-blooming shrubs as a great way to extend the flowering season in your garden. A popular way of growing flowering quince is trained on a wall or fence, and this is a wonderful way to turn a blank and often unsightly part of the garden into something beautiful. It can be trained to surround windows, and we recommend this as an easy exercise in training plants as espalier. It also makes an attractive blooming hedge, flowering well even if trimmed for neatness, unlike many other shrubs that won’t bloom when trimmed in summer.
The Double Take Pink Quince will grow and bloom well in zone 5, as well as through all the warmer zones into zone 9.
Grow your Double Take Pink Quince in full sun for the best blooming. A spot with afternoon shade during the flowering season may extend that season in warmer zones, but sun is needed for most of the growing season. A tough and hardy plant, this shrub will grow in just about any soil, as long as it is well-drained. Avoid wet spots, but drier soil is tolerated well once the plant is well-established, and it will grow in heavy clay too.
Your Double Take Pink Quince will usually be free of pests or diseases, and the leaves stay fresh and green all summer. Rabbits usually ignore it as well. You can grow it in beds without pruning, or trim as soon as flowering is over, cutting back longer growth and removing some older stems low down inside the plant. When trained on a wall or fence, shorten back the stems, leaving just an inch or two, after blooming. Trim again in late summer, taking a few inches off the new growth, and cutting back harder any long stems growing outwards that are not needed for tying flat on the surface.
The Double Take Pink Quince is not a true quince, which is called Cydonia, and has large yellow fruits. This is the flowering quince, Chaenomeles speciosa, which was introduced from Japan several centuries ago. It was extremely popular and widely grown in gardens up until the middle of the last century, when it fell out of fashion. Around 2000, Dr. Thomas G. Ranney, who is a Professor of Horticultural Science at North Carolina State University, was given a rare variety with double blooms that are very dark red, and no spines, by Don Shadow, a well-known plantsman and innovator. Dr. Ranney used pollen from ‘Dragon’s Blood’ to pollinate a classic single red variety called ‘Spitfire’. There were several thornless, double-flowered plants among the seedlings, and the three best became the Double Take varieties. The one with pink flowers he named ‘Pink Storm’ and patented it for the benefit of the University in 2010. This is the plant that the Proven Winners™ brand has released as Double Take Pink™.
We love all the Double Take varieties, but for grace and charm you can’t beat this pink one. If you love roses you will adore it, and you won’t believe what it does for your spring garden. Order now, though, because these new plants are proving incredibly popular, and we will soon be all sold out.