Korean Gold Plum YewCephalotaxus harringtonia ‘Korean Gold’
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Cephalotaxus harringtonia ‘Korean Gold’
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun, Shade
The Korean Gold Plum Yew is a relative of the true Yew Tree, but it is much better adapted to warmer areas. So in the hotter parts of this country it makes a very superior choice to traditional yew, for that hard-to-fill shady area of the garden. It is an attractive and interesting evergreen with leaves similar to those of the Yew Tree, but a little longer. What it has, and the Yew Tree does not, is young growth that in spring and through summer is a beautiful and dynamic gold color, adding light exactly where it is needed – in shady spots – and avoiding the very dark green usually found in shade-loving evergreens. This tree will grow in time to be 15 feet tall and 9 feet wide, but it can be clipped if needed and needs very little if any maintenance. It is rarely bothered by deer and has no significant pests or diseases.
In cooler areas the Korean Gold Plum Yew can be grown in full sun, but in the hottest areas it should be grown in partial or full shade. It will grow in all kinds of soil and just needs regular water, especially during its early years. Once well-established this tree is moderately resistant to dry conditions.
One of the most useful plants in a garden is an evergreen that will grow in shade. Unfortunately it is also one of the rarest things. Now in cooler areas Yew Trees are ideal, growing even in deep shade and creating a dense, rich-green background to other plants, while filling in those awkward shady corners. But once you move into warm areas Yew Trees become increasingly unhappy, so they don’t offer a solution for shady spots to southern gardeners. So what to do?
Fortunately, as Nature often does, the plant kingdom offers us a solution – the Korean Gold Plum Yew. This remarkable plant will grow in dense shade beneath large trees, just like the Yew Tree, but it will be happy in the warmest parts of the country, where Yew Trees will not be. So this is the perfect solution when you want to fill a very shady corner and you live in a hot area. Not only that, the foliage of this tree is not deep green, which can look dark in shady places, but a bright gold color, which really makes this tree stand out in the shade and brings light and color to dark corners of your garden.
The Korean Gold Plum Yew grows at a steady (but not fast) pace, eventually reaching as much as 15 feet tall and spreading to around 9 feet wide. So it is an ideal upright plant to fill the corners of shady beds, or in foundation planting on the shady side of a house and it will provide a beautiful upright accent anywhere in the garden. It can also be used as a hedging plant, and the slow growth means it will rarely need trimming.
This interesting large shrub has upright branches with narrow, green leaves at least 1 ½ inches long, fanning out in two parallel rows on either side of the stems, and forming a broad ‘V-shape’. Look a little more carefully and you will see that the leaves actually spiral slowly around the stem, giving a gentle, slightly twisted look to the plant. In spring the new growth is bright gold in color, slowly turning greener until by mid-winter it is green. As spring returns the gold returns too, making for a lively and changing picture in your garden. Although this tree can flower, it rarely if ever does so in gardens, and since the flowers are very tiny and inconspicuous this absence does not detract from the beauty of this plant in any way.
Where and how you plant a Korean Gold Plum Yew depends on what zone you live in. In zones 6 and 7 the Korean Gold Plum Yew grows well in full-sun or shade, but in warmer zones it should be grown only in shade and it is there especially that it will tolerate deep shade beneath other tree. It will grow in any kind of soil, from sand to clay and should be regularly watered for the first few years at least. Once well-established your Korean Gold Plum Yew will tolerate some dryness, but it should not be left dry for extended periods of time.
The Plum Yew, known scientifically as Cephalotaxus harringtonia, (or now more correctly as C. harringtonii), is a native plant of Japan, northeastern China and Korea, where it grows in woodland areas underneath taller forest trees. So this plant is naturally adapted to exactly the conditions you want to grow it in – shady areas. In the wild ancient trees can reach 30 feet tall, but this is very rarely seen in gardens. The form ‘Korean Gold’ was named by the well-known nurseryman and collector of Asian plants, Barry Yinger, after he brought it back from Japan in the 1970’s. In Japan the plant is known as ‘Ogen Chosen Maki’, although it was originally developed in Korea.
Of course, it takes skill and care to produce young plants that are identical to the original type, and our skilled nursery workers choose particular stem pieces to root and grow our plants from, so that we can bring you the best and be sure you get the true Korean Gold Plum Yew. Beware of seedling plants offered for lower prices – the will never be the real thing, as this plant can never be grown from seed.
So if you live in the hot, humid areas of our country, and look with envy on the Yew Trees grown in colder areas, now you too can grow a yew-like tree in the shady areas of your garden. Just choose the Korean Gold Plum Yew – but act fast and order now, because our supplies of this rare plant are limited and they never stay long in stock – order now.