Friday, July 3, 2020

Plant of the Week: Mukdenia rossii 'Crimson Fans'

In 2007, I bought Mukdenia rossii 'Crimson Fans' after somewhere seeing--I forget now--photos of the pretty leaves. I remember that I spent $18 for a one gallon and at the time, it seemed like such an enormous sum to spend on a plant--such an extravagance for a penny-pincher like myself.

It grew. It's an easy plant with no fussy requirements at all except moist soil. (But wait.)

It's deciduous and in spring, it pushes up new leaves of bronze.

There are also these comparatively banal flowers.

The flowers persist as the leaves grow. 

Eventually, if the conditions are right, the green leaves develop a pretty crimson margin--the 'Crimson Fans'. Yes, I'm a fan of the crimson fans.

And this, my friends, is where things get tricky--"if the conditions are right" being the operative phrase. Too much sun and the leaves will burn by turning brown. Not enough sun and the leaves will stay green.

I looked through my photos for really burned leaves but to no avail. Apparently I don't like taking photos of ugly things. Anywho, above and below show leaves with small brown spots--the beginnings of the burn. 

The challenge has been finding just the right balance between sun and shade. I've had this plant both in the ground and in a pot, as the trial and error experiment went on, year after year, trying one location after another to meet--but not exceed--the sunlight requirements.

But this year I think I may have finally found it, which is a good thing since my thirteen year old plant is huge now and not so easy to move. But I will admit, I'm not really sure if this year's success is due to the plant's location or the fact that we've had a mild summer so far.

Time will tell.

Mukdenia rossii 'Crimson Fans' is a common plant now and the price has come down. There is also one called M. r. 'Karasuba' which I bought in 2016 for a much cheaper price.

Here are the two, side by side. 'Crimson Fans' on the left and 'Karasuba' on the right. 'Karasuba' is not nearly as impressive and is planted in my full shade garden for now where, admittedly, it is completely ignored.

But 'Crimson Fans'...

That there is some pretty foliage! Are you growing Mukdenia? If so, please share your tips.


  1. Hey there Gracie ! .. I have considered this plant a few times and in particular Crimson Fans, but just never got around to actually getting it. I love this one because of the shiny leaves .. I know .. small minds are amused by small things? LOL .. So I have no experience to draw on for you with this post, but love the pictures and I will be your support group ? LOL
    How are you doing .. haven't heard from you in ages ;-)
    Take care and have a great weekend ! Joy

  2. How cool is that! I'm glad you found the perfect conditions for it. :)

  3. I tried growing Mukdenia once but sadly anything requiring moist soil is almost guaranteed to be a loss here.

  4. I don't really notice the red on mine so I guess it is in too much shade. I've never seen flowers on it. I thought it had died over the winter but I still have it.

  5. Wow..that is crazy beautiful foliage! I'm a fan of crimson foliage too. Nice write up Grace!


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