Plant of the Month: April 2014
by Jenny Wegley
Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Double Take’ series
AT A GLANCE
Latin name: Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Double Take’ series
Common name: Quince
Flowers: Golf ball-sized rose-like flowers
Mature size: 36-48” tall by 36-48” wide
Hardiness: Woody perennial
Soil: Well drained
Exposure: Full sun to part sun
Water usage: Medium
Sources: Local nurseries or mail order
There are plant indicators in nature that assure you the next season is on its way. A plant that is always on my radar as cold winds turn warmer is Chaenomeles speciosa, better known as quince. Originating in Asia, this woody beauty blooms before leaf set. Vibrant to pastel colors of golf ball-sized single flowers cover woody stems.
A few years back a new Chaenomeles speciosa came onto the market — the ‘Double Take’ series. I was excited because I love this plant and I was eager to see what was different this time and how the series would perform in the Plant Trials at the Dallas Arboretum. The new variety was being touted for its thornless stems, for blooming after leaf set, and for a double flower that resembles a rose. I received several 3-gallon plants from the grower and planted them in the garden at the Dallas Arboretum.
After a few years I am happy to report that they are thriving. The early spring blooms are stopping guests in their tracks – stopping them to pull out their cameras for photos. The ‘Double Take’ series comes in three colors: ‘Orange Storm’ is a punchy red-orange, ‘Pink Storm’ is a true pink, and ‘Scarlet Storm’ is a burgundy red. All bloom at the same time, early spring, against a backdrop of narrow lime-green leaves. The double flowers really add an element of beauty, giving the appearance of roses or camellias. You have to get up close to even realize the plant is a quince!
If you are looking for a 36- to 48-inch-tall woody shrub that will handle full sun to part shade, look no further. Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Double Take’ series has something to offer any garden lover. Look for ‘Double Take’ at your local retail nursery or on-line.
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