Golden Korean FirAbies koreana ‘Aurea’
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Abies koreana ‘Aurea’
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Golden Korean Fir begins as a rounded globe of branches, but soon develops a central trunk and becomes a graceful conical evergreen. It will be 3 to 5 feet tall in 10 years, and matures at about 20 feet tall. The needles are bright golden-yellow in spring, accented by frosty silver undersides. The color becomes more lime green through summer. Older trees develop 3-inch upright cones that are a unique purple color. This beautiful tree is a great specimen for a bed, among boulders, in a rock garden or with other colorful evergreens. It would look great in an Asian-themed garden, growing in a tub, or developed as a bonsai tree.
Plant your Golden Korean Fir in full sun or with a little afternoon shade. It grows best in cooler areas, with cold winters and cool, damp summers. The soil should be open and porous, not heavy with clay or wet. Pests, diseases and deer don’t bother it, and it needs no attention – just stand back and watch its beauty develop for you.
Some plants have a way of becoming part of the family, attracting us not just with their unique beauty, but drawing us into the cycle of their lives, during a year and over longer stretches of time. They become almost pets, rather than plants. Dwarf evergreens have a special knack for doing this, and we are sure that if you plant a Golden Korean Fir this is exactly what it will do. Its charming globe-shaped form when young gradually matures into a more conical, upright tree, and while it grows pretty slowly, its growth is steady, and before you know it your new arrival will be a thriving adolescent. In spring the needles are a bold golden yellow, accented by the frosty look of the silver undersides of the needles, turning to a fashionable lime-green during summer. In time it will produce large purple cones that add a great feature, and this tree is one you will come to cherish and enjoy every time you step out into your garden.
The Golden Korean Fir is a small version of a large coniferous forest tree, which develops in time into a perfect miniature. When young it is more or less globe-shaped, but it soon develops a central trunk, with branches radiating out at a low angle, forming a slightly irregular conical tree. It grows between 3 and 6 inches a year, so within 10 years it will be 3 to even 5 feet tall and 1 ½ to 2 feet across at the base. The branches remain alive and healthy to the ground for many years. Like all conifers it continues to grow indefinitely, and one day it will be perhaps 20 feet tall and 10 feet across. When planting, allow room for this possibility, as time flies by quickly, and the idea of someone having to remove such a striking (and valuable) mature specimen is a sad thought.
The stems are densely covered with short needles which curl slightly upwards, making them more dense on the upper side of the branches, and showing off their silvery undersides. In spring the needles are bright golden yellow, which gradually darkens through the summer into lime green, remaining distinctive. Older trees develop the cones that are a striking feature of this species. They are 2 to 3 inches long and stand upright in clusters of 2 or 3 on the branches. They develop first with a blue-gray color, and then mature to a very attractive dark purple, highlighted by spots of white resin.
Give the Golden Korean Fir a prominent place in your garden – it deserves it. Allow room around it, or plant among shorter-lived small shrubs, to leave room for its future development, and don’t plant within 5 feet of a wall or permanent structure. Grow it in a bed or among rocks and boulders. It looks great as an accent among plants with dark-green foliage, or as part of a collection of colorful conifers. Use it in gardens of any style, including Asian-themed arrangements, where it’s a perfect addition. It could be grown in a planter box of pot outdoors all year in zone 6 or 7, and it’s a great subject for bonsai.
This is a tree for cooler parts of the country, and grows well in zones 4 to 7, but not in warmer areas except in the northwest, where summers are cooler. It’s a great choice for gardeners in cold zones, where plant choices can be more limited.
Unlike most dwarf evergreens, the Golden Korean Fir will grow in partial shade, and in zone 7 especially, it is best for there to be some afternoon shade during summer to prevent the risk of the golden needles scorching. Otherwise plenty of sun is best, and will develop the strongest colors. Older trees are perfectly happy in full sun everywhere. It needs a well-drained soil, and doesn’t grow well in heavy clay soils. Adding some gravel and plenty of organic material will help if your soil does have some clay in it, or tends to be over-wet. It prefers fresh air, and doesn’t grow so well in polluted urban conditions.
Pest, diseases or deer don’t normally bother the Golden Korean Fir, which is easy to grow and generally trouble free. We don’t recommend any trimming or pruning. Let your tree grow naturally into its own individual beauty. Simply remove any dead twigs, and once it develops a trunk, keep it to just one central leader.
The Korean fir, Abies koreana, grows in mountainous areas of South Korea, reaching about 60 feet tall in the forests. The climate there has cold winters with snow, and cool, humid summers. It was discovered relatively recently – just 100 years ago – by the famous explorer and plant collector Ernest Wilson. The variety called ‘Aurea’, which is known as the Golden Korean Fir, was discovered as a unique seedling at Lohbrunner Nursery, on Victoria Island in British Columbia, Canada. Edward H. Lohbrunner, a keen collector of alpine plants, first offered it for sale in 1956.
It is easy to brighten your garden year round with colorful dwarf evergreens, which are especially useful in colder zones. In any collection the Golden Korean Fir deserves to be a feature, so add it right away to your garden. It isn’t often available, and always in high demand, so don’t pass up this opportunity to add something really valuable – order now.