Perennials forum: Brunnera problems

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Name: Catherine
NW Illinois (Zone 5a)
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jerseyridgearts
May 5, 2015 6:26 PM CST
I replaced my Jack Frost Brunnera last year convinced it succumbed to the particularly brutal winter. It had been in place happily for a couple years. The new Jack, robust and purchased from a good nursery, has not appeared and I don't see any sign of it. Our winter was bad but we had really good snow cover.

anyone else have problems with this plant? here it is 5.09 (middle right) - deciding whether to buy it again


Thumb of 2015-05-06/jerseyridgearts/75e3c5

Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
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pirl
May 5, 2015 6:30 PM CST
Sorry to hear your plant didn't make it through the winter...neither did mine. This is the first loss I can recall. That plant was good no matter how bad previous winters were.
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
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jvdubb
May 5, 2015 6:52 PM CST
Mine was very late to return this year
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
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Cinta
May 5, 2015 7:11 PM CST
I have it all over my garden because it reseeds every where. I do have it in a lot of shade really dark shade and it is in a lot of leaf mold because of all the trees . Mine is up and flowering now. We had an extremely brutal winter this year and last.

Two years ago because I had so many volunteers I planted one in an area around pine trees and that one died. I think it was too dry. The Hosta do fine in that area but this plant I think likes moisture rich soil.
Thumb of 2015-05-06/Cinta/f15f4a

Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tomato Heads Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1 Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Plant Identifier
pirl
May 5, 2015 7:29 PM CST
Thanks for the tip. If I buy it again I'll give it more compost and mulch.
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
May 5, 2015 7:35 PM CST
I finally gave up on it because I kept losing it.
Name: Catherine
NW Illinois (Zone 5a)
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jerseyridgearts
May 5, 2015 7:50 PM CST
that settles it then.....my zone is the coldest so if so many of you are having no luck I doubt I will.
@Cinta @jvdubb - glad it's performing well for you.

Thanks all!
Name: Rose
Oquawka, IL (Zone 5a)
Garden Photography Echinacea Dahlias Clematis Region: Illinois Hibiscus
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Rose1656
May 5, 2015 7:55 PM CST
I only had one return this spring. I've only had them in my gardens for 2 years and they all did really well last year, so I thought it might be the brutal winter. Maybe not! I just bought several more from a co-op so I'll try it again!
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
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Shadegardener
May 6, 2015 7:47 AM CST
I've only had luck with one - a NOID with white edges on the leaves. All of the frosty ones don't like my garden. Maybe there's something to the moisture thing because my shady spots can be dry even though I supplement water in the summer (and it seems like it's never enough). On the other hand, the species B. macrophylla is totally out of control in wilder areas. It's a toughie to control and edit out.
Name: Catherine
NW Illinois (Zone 5a)
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jerseyridgearts
May 6, 2015 7:56 AM CST
I really liked the 'look' of the frosted varieties Cindy, but I'm convinced it's not worth the $$ to make a third try....now I'm looking for a nice, hardier substitute.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
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Frillylily
May 6, 2015 9:01 AM CST
ok so what you are looking for is something with silvery foliage that is winter hardy? I like the blue flowers on the brunnera but I don't know if there is anything comparable that will have that.
Is your area moist in the summer or more dry? I am assuming mostly afternoon shade if you tried the brunnera there?
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
May 6, 2015 9:08 AM CST
jersey - I have to agree with continually throwing money away. I suppose I could make the effort to give them extra, extra water but I know myself and that wouldn't happen on a continual basis. As for substitutes - I like some of the silvery Pulmonaria varieties. I've had some of them for years in my garden. Only exception I've run across is 'Mrs. Moon' - the only one I've ever lost. I've heard from a few others that it has "issues" with midwest gardens.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
May 6, 2015 9:16 AM CST
well maybe they just need extra water for the first 2 or 3 yrs until they establish a more efficient root system? After they are mature and have been in the same place for some time, they may be strong enough to not need the pampering?
Name: Catherine
NW Illinois (Zone 5a)
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jerseyridgearts
May 6, 2015 1:54 PM CST
That's the thing Frillylily - my brunneras were so pretty for a couple of years and then *poof* they were gone. The replacements didn't make it overwinter.

@shadegardener, funny you should mention pulmonarias Cindy - I have a couple and think they might be the right replacement - although Mrs. Moon did not appear this year either. The Foilage is my goal. I may try the Hakone grass and see how I like i - doesn't really compare though.

I wonder if because I planted the replacements in the fall if that is the reason for the disappearance this year. Although I found the tiny anemone leaves today and it was planted at the same time in the same garden/similar conditions. A Mystery!
Name: Rose
Oquawka, IL (Zone 5a)
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Rose1656
May 6, 2015 2:13 PM CST
There are some heuchera out now that have a silverish leaf. I love the colorful leaves of the heuchera! I also have had very good luck with pulmonaria. Ghost fern has a slight silver to it, and it has done really well in my gardens. I have sprinklers set up throughout my shade gardens, that get used regularly all season long, so I don't think lack of moisture was the problem here. But,I already have several potted up so I'll try it again and see if I have better luck this time!

Rose
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
May 6, 2015 3:00 PM CST
Frilly - I've come to the conclusion that I'm not as patient as I should be and 2 to 3 years of babying a plant isn't for me. Makes me think I can live without it. I'll baby my vegetables for the summer but perennials not so much.
Jersey - I lost 'Mrs. Moon' as have other experienced midwest gardeners. I did lose 'David Ward' twice and gave up on it. Pretty flower color though. I've had 'British Sterling' for 20 years and have been happy with the silver. 'Majeste' is also a good one. I haven't looked at any recent introductions.
Rose - Heucheras are another plant that can be iffy if it doesn't have the right parentage for midwestern summers. I love 'Lime Ricky' and it survives the winter but fades fast once the summer heat hits. I've lost that one twice because I didn't know any better. Unless I've done a little research, I won't pay $15+ for a new Heuchera.
You are right about the 'Ghost' fern. It is very pretty but it has taken it's sweet time becoming established here. Because I'm on city water and my back shade garden is 150 ft long and roughly 20 ft deep, I try to avoid watering as much as possible. Mulching with fall leaves has been a real saver.
Name: Rose
Oquawka, IL (Zone 5a)
Garden Photography Echinacea Dahlias Clematis Region: Illinois Hibiscus
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Rose1656
May 6, 2015 3:45 PM CST
If it's something I really like I'll give it a second chance. If it doesn't make it the second time I won't try again! There's so many pretty plants available that I don't need the frustration of a temperamental plant.

I water a lot here in the summer, but we live in the country and have a well. We love in sand so watering is a must in July and August. I have two ghost ferns and both are doing well for me. I have other ferns that start out pretty sad but fill in as the season goes on.
Silver Spring, MD (Zone 7a)
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ssgardener
May 6, 2015 3:49 PM CST
One of my variegated brunneras died this winter, and it only got down to around 5-10F. It was in a moist, shaded area.

I think the one I lost is 'Silver Heart,' and the surviving one is 'Jack Frost.'
Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
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ge1836
May 6, 2015 4:25 PM CST
Carherine, thats a great composition in your first Brunerra pix. Nice drifts of Dicentra.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
May 6, 2015 4:33 PM CST
The only heuchera I can grow are the purple ones. I have tried the peachy, and lime colors and they don't come back in the spring. Or they just dwindle away after a year or two.

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