Japanese Plum Yew ‘Prostrata’ – 2011 Showstopper Plant

The 2011 Showstopper Plants have been selected by The North Carolina Nursery & Landscape Association and North Carolina and the North Carolina Cooperative Extension.

Each year, North Carolina nurserymen nominate Showstopper Plants and five are selected by North Carolina Cooperative Extension horticulture experts.

These featured plants are promising new cultivars, able to thrive in North Carolina gardens.

Name: Cephalotaxus harringtonia ‘Prostrata’,  Japanese Plum Yew

Zones: 6 – 9

Size:  2’ to 3’ tall and wide.  Slow growing

Conditions: Shade to part sun

A few years back, I had a meeting with Brandon Duncan, gardener for the Shuping’s in Raleigh, about featuring the Shuping’s garden on the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days tour. As I pulled into the driveway, I was immediately drawn to their use of Cephalotaxus harringtonia ‘Prostrata’, Japanese plum yew.  Low and lining the curve of the parking pad at the top of the drive, the yew welcomed me.

I’m barely out of the car, when I asked Brandon about the yew.  Plum yew is rather slow growing, yet this swath of ground cover was full and lush.  I just assumed the plum yews had been there forever, but Brandon explained that since their initial growth pattern is in a fan shape, be butted two plants together, effectively creating a circle.  Brilliant.

Today, I have Cephalotaxus harringtonia ‘Prostrata’, Japanese plum yew growing in my garden; and it’s doing very well.

In the past, we southerns dreamed of growing the common yew in our home gardens.  Many cultivars are not tolerant of our summer heat and humidity, but harringtonia ‘Prostrata’, Japanese plum yew likes us.

I’m a big fan of ground covers; while I need mulch, I don’t necessarily want to see it.  I want to see happy plants growing snuggle in my garden.  Providing me color, texture, and cover for the wildlife that needs places to scurry too during threats of danger or inclement weather.

I’ve used the Cephalotaxus harringtonia ‘Prostrata’, Japanese plum yew in a couple of ways in my garden, both as a specimen and en masse.   Locate in shade and even part sun, plum yew is a winner in my garden.

And speaking of deer (aren’t we always speaking, or at least, thinking of deer?) Cephalotaxus harringtonia ‘Prostrata’, Japanese plum yew are deer resistant.

Do you grow Cephalotaxus harringtonia ‘Prostrata’, Japanese plum yew in your garden?

2011 Showstopper Plant winners:

Camellia ‘Winter’s Charm

Venus Sweetshrub

Japanese Plum Yew

Climbing Hydrangea

Kousa Dogwood

By: Helen Yoest

The TarHeelGardening blog is published and edited by Helen Yoest. For more information on Tarheel Gardening, please visit our website at Tarheel Gardening - your online resource for North Carolina gardening enthusiasts.

Sponsored by the North Carolina Nursery and Landscape Association

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6 Responses to Japanese Plum Yew ‘Prostrata’ – 2011 Showstopper Plant

  1. Pingback: Camellia ‘Winter’s Charm’ – mountain bound! – 2011 Showstopper Plant | Tarheel Gardening.COM

  2. Pingback: Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris – climbing hydrangea – 2011 Showstopper Plant | Tarheel Gardening.COM

  3. Pingback: ‘Venus’ Sweetshrub – 2011 Showstopper Plant | Tarheel Gardening.COM

  4. Janience says:

    Helen:
    Where can I purchase the “Japanese Plum Yew” tree?

    • Hi Janience, Have you looked at your local garden center? wwww.tarheelgardener.com also has a plant locator. Have you tried that? I a Japanese Plum Tree and love it. Good luck. Hope you find one.

  5. John C. Webster says:

    In the early 1970′s, while a Graduate Fellow at Longwood Gardens,
    I was introduced to the prostrate Japanese Plum Yew at Watnong
    Nursery, owned by Don and Hazel Smith. They have long past, and
    their conifer collection went to The National Arboretum in Washington.

    Their prostrate Plum Yew was, at the time, probably 3′ in height and
    at least 12′ across. Of course (as a former N.C. State horticulture
    student and friend of J.C. Ralson) I was much impressed. I used
    it in other gardens that were designed before I retired, but the one
    that looked the best was in a private garden just west of Ruxton,
    Maryland (Baltimore), which had grown in 10 years to a 6′ “fan”
    radiating from the stone-walled residence. Beautiful.

    I now have one growing in my own garden – struggling on poor,
    thin topsoil over Devonian Shale in eastern West Virginia. A big
    challenge, but I have left an 8′-radius circle for it to fill. High
    hopes on that one.

    John C. Webster

    PS – It is my understanding that many of the plants now in
    horticultural trade came from additional “mother plants”
    started from cuttings taken off of that original specimen.

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