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Rare Conifers Rate of Growth Witches Broom

Updated on February 26, 2014

We will get down and dirty right away and show you pictures of my cultivar collection.

Silberlocke, Witches Broom Kohouts 'Ice Breaker'

PLANTED 9/2011
PLANTED 9/2011

Kohout's 'Ice Breaker' was found as a witches' broom on a 'Horstmann's Silberlocke'. A miniature evergreen conifer with a very slow spreading habit. Dense foliage is silvery-blue with recurved needles. Originated as a witch's broom from 'Silberlocke' in Germany that they say prefers full sun in well-drained soil. It grows in my garden with about 5 hours of sun and well drained soil. It is protected between two houses approximately 30' apart. It grows slowly to about 8" tall to about 12" wide during a 10 year period, is hardy to -30 degrees and is USDA zone 4. This plant pray-tell is one of the ultimate specimen plants.

This cultivar was purchased in September 2010 for $40 from Bethlehem N. Ct. It now resides in Oak Ridge, NJ. It is planted in between two houses about 30' apart from each other. Does not get morning sun until 10:00. It has over wintered two years now and has not grown much since it was planted. It is a perfect plant for a miniature garden proving to be a very low maintenance specimen. The white snowy look was not an act of God. The seed was radiated and this look is the outcome.

Globose in young age, an irregular oblong appearance and eventually, with age it sends off a slow leader. It will form a small pyramid in a decade or two growing between an inch and five inches at the terminal leader per year.

Kohout's 'Ice Breaker' March 2012 Behind Rock On Right Side
Kohout's 'Ice Breaker' March 2012 Behind Rock On Right Side

Of course growth has not yet been noticed. See the Ice Breaker on the right behind the rock. This picture is for reference purposes, taken in April, 2011. We'll be updating the picture to show its growth since it was planted in September, 2010. Take note of the plants in this picture to reference rate of growth as each one has a turn dancing for the center of attention.

Tom Thumb, Spruce

Take a look at this specimen on your left. Name, Tom Thumb is a witches broom from Skylands, Fur. This guy was planted 2010. A very slow grower a very interesting specimen and very low maintenance.

The Thing about Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grass swings in your garden playing a quiet breezy tune inviting you to take a peak, and, in so doing, you find yourself paying attention to the rest of the show going on in your garden at that moment. Ornamental Grasses gently swings and sways moving your garden during the summer and fall, a motion in your view so grand and mesmerizing. It's too bad though, when the season is gone so is the display.

A display that grows vigorously as its roots expand quickly causing it to be a very high maintenance plant. In order to slow down its growth, propagation should be performed every other year. I do this by cutting the whole plant into quarters with a sawz-saw while it is still growing in the ground. I have heard people tell me they have set the grass on fire in the late fall to completely remove all its dead growth. I just have someone hold the whole wad and cut it down as low as possible with a hedge trimmer. As far as I'm concerned ornamental grasses are very high maintenance plants only showing off during the summer and fall.

If you like grasses and want the look all year long there is an alternative. A conifers that looks and acts like ornamental grass; Orientalis Arborvitae, Franky Boy. The perk to this plant is that it shows off evergreen winter, spring, summer and fall, it is very low maintenance growing at a slow rate. It takes 10 years before it reaches 4' tall and 3' wide. It is showy, lime green and tolerates -20 degrees. It looks like swinging ornamental grass but truly an evergree giving you so much more all year long.


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