Actaea rubra: Powerhouse Plant For All Seasons
May 13, 2013
Powerhouse Plants are Plants For All Seasons, plants which don’t simply do their one thing and then sit there looking dull for the rest of the year. These are plants with impact at two, three or perhaps four different seasons. They provide so much more than just a few short weeks of flowers. So when you look at a plant in flower at the nursery or in a catalog, always ask: What else does it do?
You can find details of over five hundred plants that do something else at another season in my new book Powerhouse Plants. And every month in Gardener’s World, Britain’s top-selling garden magazine (and also available in the US) I focus on one very special Plant For All Seasons, highlighting three features which bring color to the garden at different times of the year. This month, it’s Viburnum plicatum subsp tomentosum 'Mariesii'. But here I thought I’d show you another, a perennial: Actaea rubra, the red baneberry.
First, the bright juicy spring shoots emerge and then around this time of year, depending on the season, and this season is a late one, the leaves have expanded and make a fine fresh green background to the fluffy heads of white flowers opening from creamy buds.
Then it’s not long before the rather dramatic change takes place; the flower heads stretch and the berries form, in bright and shining and scarlet red. Quite a different look, two quite different appeals from the same plant.
You might also like to take a look at Actaea pachypoda ‘Misty Blue’ (‘Pewter and Pearls’ is similar): the same white spring flowers; then white berries held on red stems – but with the bonus of blue-tinted foliage.
Please take a look at Plants For All Seasons in Gardeners World magazine each month. And check back here for monthly posts about other Powerhouse Plants – the Plants For All Seasons.
You can order my book, Powerhouse Plants in Britain from amazon.co.uk
You can order my book, Powerhouse Plants in North America and the rest of the world from amazon.com
Or you can find out more about the book at the Powerhouse Plants webpage.
Subscribe to Gardeners' World magazine In North America,Gardeners' World magazine is also available in Barnes & Noble and other good bookstores.