Cephalotaxus - Growing Guide

Growing Cephalotaxus fortunei

Fortune plum yew

We have been propagating this rare evergreen conifer from cuttings and hope to have a small number of plants available towards the end of 2022.

This is a yew-like small tree or large shrub with linear and slightly curved mid green leaves in flat or v shaped sprays. There are two white bands on the undersides of the leaves.

At Caerhays, in a new conifer plantation, we are growing four specimens of this plant. Once they had grown to a height of only 3ft with a similar spread we were amazed to see large white clouds of pollen blowing off the plants in late March. It transpired that three of the plants were male and literally covered with flowers on the tip of and along every stem. By contrast, the single female plant has many fewer flowers which are noticeably larger in size. Sadly, as yet, we have yet to find any plum-like fruits on the female tree. These will be single seeds surrounded by a fleshy green coating which turns purple-brown when they are ripe.

The seeds can take two years to germinate.

This tree likes a moist environment and is perfectly happy in full sun or partial shade with shelter from cold winds. It is however a perfectly hardy plant originating from China.



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