Sunshine Farm and Gardens: Rare and Exceptional Plants
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Rare and Exceptional Plants for the
Discriminating Gardener and Collector

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` Saxifraga fortuneii 'Beni Fuji'
Saxifraga fortuneii 'Beni Fuji'
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Opening the box that had just arrived from my friend Nagao Matsubayashi in Japan, my first thought was oh-no, not another Heuchera! Now with all respect due my dear friend Dan Heims of Terra Nova and to the Olivers at Primrose Path, I think that there are enough Heucheras out there. Let's move on to some other genera.

Being in the same family, Saxifragaceae, my confusion was somewhat excusable, upon closer examination, what was found turned out to be a remarkable little plant (see, I didn't use "adorable" this time, I've discovered a new adjective) that would take 3 or 4 separate photographs to really show its merits. Saxifraga fortuneii 'Beni Fuji's foliage starts out the growing season a lime-ish green outlined with a burgundy margin and multiple burgundy hairs covering the entire leaf. It slowly darkens as it ages.

Even if Saxifraga fortuneii 'Beni Fuji' never flowered, with its long lasting, uniquely shaped, brilliant pink flowers, and primrose yellow anthers, in September and October, it would be well worth growing for its magnificent foliage.

Plants get up to about 12" tall and form a tight clump that yields many new divisions each year. It seems equally as happy in full sun or full shade, although, most likely in warmer climates, a lean toward shade would be the preference.

Hardiness should be about zone 6, probably even 5 or colder with a good mulch, only problem could be in colder areas, you would need a little protection from early frosts to prevent flower damage due to it's late season flowering habit.

The cultivars of Saxifraga fortuneii have reached cult status in Japan, where there are Societies and color magazines dedicated to growing and collecting the many named cultivars available over there.

You can be sure that we'll soon see many more named plants in this group start filtering out of Japan in the very near future.

Have a GREAT GARDENING WEEKEND!!!

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Barry Glick, Sunshine Farm and Gardens
696 Glicks Rd, Renick, WV 24966, USA
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Last modified February 24, 2009
URL: http://www.sunfarm.com/picks/saxifragafortuneiibenifuji-124110.phtml