Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

My Favorite Plant in the Garden Right Now...

Is x Fatshedera lizei 'Gold Heart.' I was wandering around the garden yesterday taking note of plants that I might want to include in an upcoming Garden Bloggers Bloom Day or Foliage Followup post, and couldn't help noticing the wonderfully colorful leaves on this strange intergeneric hybrid of Hedera helix and Fatsia japonica.

It's only been in the ground since the spring, ever since my early spring trip to Portland with Peter The Outlaw Gardener for the Portland Bloggers Plant Swap, which also entailed a visit to Cistus Nursery, where I bought the Fatshedera, along with plenty of other great plants. You can read about that day trip on this post here.

It's a little bigger than it was when I bought and planted it, but not much.

Unlike Hedera helix (English ivy), an invasive, pernicious weed with absolutely uncontrolled spreading and strangling tendencies that should never ever be planted in the ground, Fatshedera is a restrained, sterile grower with the upright, shrubby habit of its other parent Fatsia.

Here's what the tag from Cistus has to say about it: "This cultivar is a particularly nice example of this interesting and non-invasive hybrid between Fatsia and Hedera. Shared with us by East Coast plantsman Don Jacobs, it has evergreen foliage with a reliable large and golden maple leaf pattern in the leaf center, foliage that burnishes red when temperatures fall to the 20s F or below. Plants have all the vigorous characteristics of x Fatshederal lizei 'Aureovariegata,' scrambling and leaning to about 5 ft tall and 3 ft wide. Needs summer water in dry places and shade to part sun. Frost hardy well into USDA zone 7. Wonderful as a container plant."

I couldn't find much on the web about 'Gold Heart,' but you can read about Fatshedera lizei 'Annemieke' aka 'Aureovariegata' aka 'Aureomaculata' (this plant has a lot of aliases) on the excellent informational website Plant Lust here.

Great fall color
We haven't had temps near 20 yet, we've only had one night of light frost, but the older leaves are showing that burnished red color mentioned on the tag. It's planted next to a past favorite, Jeweled Chain Fern/Woodwardia unigemmata, which you can read about here.

x Fatshedera lizei 'Annemieke' is also on the list of Great Plant Picks, and you can read their info about it here. Do you know about Great Plant Picks? From their website: "Great Plant Picks is an educational program committed to building a comprehensive palette of outstanding plants for maritime Pacific Northwest gardens. Great Plant Picks is one of the educational outreach programs for the Elisabeth C. Miller Botanical Garden, providing a forum for sharing horticultural information with the wider gardening community." Read more about the Great Plant Picks program here.

Debbie Teashon who writes Rainy Side Gardeners also grows this plant, and has some excellent info about it here.

The newer leaves are just as beautiful

It looks wonderful next to ferny foliage

I have it planted in a mostly shade bed (shade for most of the season from the pin oak foliage that towers over the bed, but dappled shade/sun in the early spring). It got watered about once a week in the summer. With that promise of it growing as high as 5 feet and as wide as 3 feet, I have high hopes for this plant in future years, although it is reputedly slow-growing and I might eventually have to stake it. We'll see.

Here are some stats:

Height: 5 Feet
Width: 3 Feet
Hardiness: Zone 7a-10b
Light Requirements: Deep Shade/Part Shade
Soil Requirements: Moist, but well-drained, can take some dryness

You can buy x Fatshedera lizei 'Annemieke' aka 'Aureovariegata' aka 'Aureomaculata' at these online nurseries:

Plant Delights
Avant Gardens
Almost Eden
Secret Garden Growers

The Favorite Plant in the Garden meme is hosted by Loree at the blog danger garden, and you can read about her current favorite here. Don't forget to check out the comments, where other bloggers will leave links to posts about their current favorites as well. Interestingly, Fatshedera lizei was Loree's favorite a couple of months ago, and you can read her post about the plant here.


  1. Really nice coloring on those leaves.

  2. Very nice Alison! A fan here of x Fatshedera lizei and have the plain green one here but something like that can darken a shady corner where this scrambler can do well.

  3. Oh, Alison, that is one beautiful plant. Too bad it won't be happy with our winters here in Wisconsin, but I will admire yours from afar.

  4. I'm adding this plant to my shopping list! Alison, I like your beautiful fall header photo.

  5. So glad to read about your love of this beautiful plant. Oh and the color! That's amazing. I wouldn't have recognized it from your first couple of images alone.

  6. What a beautiful plant. Did a quick search and not hardy here in Scotland. Might be a contender should I ever get myself a greenhouse though. Thanks for the introduction and Happy Bloom Day :)

  7. Beautiful variegation! I wonder where I could put one (assuming that I can find it in the 1st place)...

  8. Yours looks really great Alison. I wonder if it will flower. My neighbors have Ivy and it's flowering now and although ivy is a terrible plant, the honeybees love the flowers so I'm thinking if more people grow Fatshedera and allow it to bloom then the bees will be happy and we can rid ourselves of Ivy once and for all. Did that make sense? :)

  9. The variegated leaves and red stems are attractive. You'd think with ivy as a parent it would be really tough.

  10. I would plant this AND Fatsia if it were not such deer candy. I will admire yours from afar.


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