Best New Plant Variety - Physocarpus 'Little Devil' ,John Woods Nurseries

Physocarpus Opulifolius 'Little Devil' is a deciduous shrub with a very compact habit, a truly dwarf form of the species.

Best New Plant Variety - Physocarpus 'Little Devil'  - image: John Woods Nurseries
Best New Plant Variety - Physocarpus 'Little Devil' - image: John Woods Nurseries
The three-litre plant was bred in the USA by David Zlesak. Its primary ornamental feature is deep-purple leaves that densely clothe neat upright branches.

In June, white button-like blooms with a hint of pink are produced, creating a pleasing contrast against the richly-coloured foliage as well as an attraction for butterflies.

'Little Devil' is undemanding in its requirements and happy in sun or partial shade in any reasonable garden soil. It tolerates drought well, once established. Little or no pruning is needed and it is hardy to -30 degsC. Eventual height and spread is 120cm x 90cm in about 10 years.

The shrub is an easy choice for customers who lack confidence in their gardening skills, says John Woods.

As a retail plant, it offers a good cash margin. It has excellent shelf life and a long sales period, which reduces the need for discounting. The plant can be merchandised in a bold block or in mixed displays as a foil for other plants.

The launch batch sold out and more than 2,000 plants have been shifted since spring. Retail sell-through has been strong, reflected in pre-booked orders of 3,500 for the 2012 season. The plant has also won the best in hardy nursery stock award at the National Plant Show.

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