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Lindera - Growing Guide
Those gardeners who relish the appearance of corylopsis in early spring as an invaluable woodland garden plant are beginning to appreciate how complementary to this linderas can be. It is not a mistake that Lindera obtusiloba is grown in the same large beds which host the RHS Rosemoor hamamelis collection. These are exciting spring flowering plants.
We are starting to offer a number of new lindera species which have been discovered in the wild more recently (L. aggregata) and some that have thrived at Caerhays for almost 100 years (L. megaphylla). More should be available soon.
Lindera are a slightly difficult genus to describe since some species are evergreen while others are deciduous. The reference books perhaps make them out to be less hardy than they are now proven to be although, clearly, different species have slightly different general needs.
Lindera are dioecious so male and female flowers are borne on separate plants. This need not really concern gardeners as there is not much difference between the different types of flowers and, I readily confess, I cannot tell the difference! I do not actually much care either so please do not ask us to sex them because we cannot – buy three instead!
Flowers are borne in dense clusters on both evergreen and deciduous plants in March or April. They are greenish-yellow or yellow. The deciduous species produce the best show and L. obtusiloba is excellent. This is a large shrub or small tree.
L. benzoin, the Spice Bush, is a rounded deciduous shrub with obovate rounded leaves up to 5in long. It grows to about 10ft and has aromatic leaves.
L. aggregata is a slow growing dense evergreen which we have grown in profusion from seed. It needs shelter from strong winds but will flower at only 3ft or so.
L. megaphylla is a tall evergreen tree of 25ft with huge shiny leaves that grows in a line of five at Caerhays. The leaves (like all lindera) are aromatic and 9-12in long. This species will grow eventually from autumn cuttings after a year in the mist bench. The scent is not to everyone’s taste and this plant needs serious wind protection for obvious reasons.
L. cercidifolia will be available soon. It flowers copiously at a very young age at Caerhays. Deciduous and will be a much sought after plant.
L. triloba – although you might think this was an obvious species to identify there are issues! Since our 10ft high plant has just died these will have to await another update of these notes.