Dwarf Morus wins biggest prize at Chelsea 2017

Morus ‘Matsunaga’ Charlotte Russe - photo: Plantipp

Morus ‘Matsunaga’ Charlotte Russe – photo: Plantipp

On the first day of the Chelsea Flower Show 2017 in London (UK) Morus ‘Matsunaga’, a dwarf mulberry has been awarded the title of 2017 Chelsea Plant of the Year. This Morus that is brought onto the market as Morus Charlotte Russe is the result of many years of work by 89-year-old breeder Hajime Matsunaga. This compact dwarf mulberry tree is considered as the perfect size for small gardens and patios. The self-pollinating plant reaches only 1.5m and produces berries from June to September on plants that are only one year old, while most mulberry plants take around eight years to mature.
Charlotte Russe was introduced into the UK by Suttons Seeds this spring. The first batch of 2,500 plants sold out in only a week. A further batch of 7,500 plants (of which half are already pre-sold) is available for mail order dispatch in September. Horticulture Week, the leading trade magazine in the UK adds to this information about the availability of the 2017 Chelsea Flower Show that there are likely to be 37,000 Charlotte Russe available in the next year after Suttons won the Chelsea plant of the year competition.
Charlotte Russe - photo: Plantipp

Charlotte Russe – photo: Plantipp

Charlotte Russe - photo: Plantipp

Charlotte Russe – photo: Plantipp

Charlotte Russe – photo: RHS

Charlotte Russe – photo: RHS

Suttons Seeds notes that the fruits are hard to find in supermarkets. With Charlotte Russe, one can have all the joys of growing his own mulberries without the hassle of keeping a large tree. With heights reaching 8 metres, many people don’t have the space for a normal mulberry tree. As it is self-pollinating and fruits on both old and new wood, mulberries can be picked within the first year. “And unlike other varieties that only produce fruit over a 3-week period towards the end of summer, Charlotte Russe produces berries over a very long period, from May right through until September”, says Suttons Seeds.
‘Newest addition to the royal family’
Morus ‘Matsunaga’ is world exclusive to Suttons Seeds. This company also named the new variety Charlotte Russe ‘in celebration of the long-standing royal connections of mulberries and in recognition of the newest addition to the royal family’.
The royalty management of Morus ‘Matsunaga’ in Europe is taken care of by Plantipp. This agency has been very successful at recent Chelsea Flower Shows. In 2014 Hydrangea Miss Saori, bred by Ryoji Irie and also from Japan won Chelsea Plant of the Year competition. Last year Clematis chiisanensis ‘Amber’, bred by Dutch Clematis specialist Marco de Wit won this award. ‘Amber’ is in Plantipp’s portfolio as well.
Salvia ‘Crystal Blue’ runner-up
Salvia ‘Crystal Blue’ – photo: Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants

Salvia ‘Crystal Blue’ – photo: Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants

Salvia ‘Crystal Blue’ is the runner up for the 2017 Chelsea Plant of the Year award. This salvia, with its light sky-blue flowers, was a chance seedling found in a field of salvias in Michigan (US)’. This hardy perennial can be seen on the Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants stand. The pastel blue colour of the flowers blends well according to the jury with other plants and it grows to a height of 45cm and spreads to 60cm. [read more]
‘Petit Orange’ third place
Hibiscus rosa sinensis HibisQs Petit Orange – photo: Graff Breeding

Hibiscus rosa sinensis HibisQs Petit Orange – photo: Graff Breeding

Third place in the 2017 Chelsea Plant of the Year competition went to Hibiscus ‘Petit Orange’, part of the Hibiscus rosa-sinensis HibisQs Petit Series developed by Danish breeder Graff. The jury said about ‘Petit Orange’: “A floriferous Hibiscus with eye-catching orange flowers, this hibiscus exhibited by Thompson & Morgan should add an exotic feel to a windowsill or patio. The flowers contrast nicely with the shiny, dark foliage on this indoor plant, which can also be grown outside in a warm, sunny position where it will flower from May until the first frost.”
Earlier this year ‘Petit Orange’ already won the IPM Innovation Award 2017 in the category Flowering Pot Plants at the German trade fair IPM 2017.
The full shortlist for this year’s competition is as follows (the underscored names link to a description at www.newplantsandflowers.com)
• Begonia ‘Silver Spirit’

Betula pendula ‘Jolep 1’ FASTIGIATA JOES

• Chilli pepper ‘Dragon’s Breath’

Clematis ‘Taiga’

Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Cupcakes Blush’ (Cupcakes Series)

• Digitalis ‘Lemoncello’

• Hibiscus rosa-sinensis HIBISQS PETIT ORANGE (‘Petit Orange’) (HibisQs Petit Series)

Leontopodium nivale subsp.alpinum ‘Berghman’ BLOSSOM OF SNOW

• Lewisia longipetala ‘Little Snowberry’

• Lilium ‘Yin’

Malus × purpurea ‘Crimson Cascade’

• Morus rotundiloba CHARLOTTE RUSSE (‘Matsunaga’)

• Pelargonium ‘Rushmoor Amazon’ (Rushmoor River Series)

Rosa ‘Auspike’ JAMES L. AUSTIN

• Rosa PAPWORTH’S PRIDE (‘Beamelon’)

• Salvia ‘Crystal Blue’

• Strawberry JUST ADD CREAM (‘Tmstr14pnk’)

• Sweet pepper ‘Popti’

• Zantedeschia ‘Dubai Nights’

• Zantedeschia ‘Eyeliner’