Appledoorn Nursery (aka a Southern conifer collector’s dream)

Stephen Gibson (NC 7B)
13 days ago
last modified: yesterday

Two trips to Appledoorn to see Bruce and talk hardy southen species and I’ve amassed a cool group of new guys.

In a nutshell: He And his nursery are incredible and I’m kicking myself for not taking pictures. Something tells me there will be more chances to take plenty.

Seeing all of the incredible mother plants, talking about things that he knows to be hardy here, and completely geeking out on conifers, I can’t wait for fall planting!

He even threw in a few for free because they were rootstock plants., or in the case of Chamaecyparis thyoides “Red Velvet” to prove a point (I wrote the species off after unsuccessful babying of multiple “Red Star“ plants)

The haul from two great visits to his nursery:

Abies firma

Pins strobus ‘Macopin’

Tsuga sieboldii

Chamaecyparis thyoides ‘Red Velvet’

Cupressus arizonica var. glabra ‘Sulphurea’

(In need of sun, but I’m not letting it go from a shade house to NC summer Sun)

Cryptomeria japonica ‘Cryptonite’

I Can’t find any info on this cultivar but apparently the scion wood came from a huge tree in Tom Cox’s yard

Taiwania cryptomerioides

Sciadopitys verticilliata

Cryptomeria japonica ‘Tarheel Blue’

Cunninghamia lanceolata ‘Samurai’

Torreya fargesii var yunnanensis ’Rock’

Chamaecyparis Nootkatensis ‘Pendula’

Observing how well ‘Van den Akke’, ’Green Arrow’, and ‘Sparkling Arrow’ are doing for me I had to grab one of these

Keteleeria davidiana

Fitzroya cupressoides

On my first trip I talked to a guy for a while who was a fellow conifer nut. Apparently he has a great specimen (and the scion source) a short drive away. Excited to see how this does. Definitely in need of a stake.

Juniperus conferta ‘Dream Joy’

Comments (23)

  • Sara Malone Zone 9b
    13 days ago

    Yes that Cunninghamia is out of this world. Wow.

    Stephen Gibson (NC 7B) thanked Sara Malone Zone 9b
    Best Answer
  • indianagardengirl
    13 days ago

    Nice haul, Stephen! I especially like the Samurai. Is that new growth as blue as it seems in the pics? It just glows beautifully.

    Stephen Gibson (NC 7B) thanked indianagardengirl
  • Stephen Gibson (NC 7B)
    Original Author
    13 days ago

    Thank you! I’m thrilled with it too! The samurai absolutely glows..

  • Bill_minn_3b {West Central MN}
    13 days ago

    Congratulations Stephen!

    Such a wide diversity with some very distinctive cultivars you have there!

    Stephen Gibson (NC 7B) thanked Bill_minn_3b {West Central MN}
  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5
    13 days ago

    oh how i miss those days ...

    will you be planting immediately.. or will you wait until the next favorable planting season ???


    Stephen Gibson (NC 7B) thanked ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5
  • tsugajunkie z5 SE WI ♱
    13 days ago

    Very interesting plants. Thanks.


  • Stephen Gibson (NC 7B)
    Original Author
    13 days ago

    Ken, I decided last year (after losing a few little ones) that I’ll only plant new material in the fall. I can never predict if we will be having a real spring or immediate summer.

    So everything is getting potted up, and hanging out under a high canopy of shade ‘til October.

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5
    13 days ago

    why up pot them??.. thats just a stress.. that they wont recover from.. in tree time.. before you stress them again in a few months ...

    just place the pots where the pot itself is shaded ... and hold them over.. as is ...the plants can be in sun ...

    when i saw that bench.. i thought.. if only they were on the ground behind the bench.. the pot would be shaded ... but i guessed that was at the sellers .. bingo if its yours ...


  • Stephen Gibson (NC 7B)
    Original Author
    13 days ago

    Ken, the setup is mine.

    I hear you on the up-potting, my logic was they were basically busting out of their pots (everything to the right of the central cinderblock) so those were potted up 4 weeks ago and are on a liquid kelp diet. Everyone has perked up and they are putting on new growth. If anything it seems they’ve appreciated the move.

    On the fence about everything I got last week (they are a smidge away from being bound). Will waiting for months lead to them being bound? But I absolutely hear you on the stress. I guess I don’t see the difference between me potting them up vs them being potted up at the nursery... which it’s time for.

    As far as the elevation...anything I put on the ground gets claimed by fire ants. Picking through a rootball of those little a$$holes is something I hope to never have to do again.

    The tree line behind them is south to southwest, so the only light they get is a two hour window from 10-12. It’s dappled to full shade the rest of the time. Which is honestly way less sun than some of them were receiving at the nursery.

    After seeing how well fabric pots are treating root systems on everything else I have in them; I’m thinking about transferring the new group into those.

    But again the dilemma; is the stress of potting up so severe that it outweighs all of the benefits?

  • conifer50
    13 days ago

    Hi Stephen, Bruce and two of his friends made an announced appearance at my residence this morning! He was one a tight schedule and pointed back to Asheville and homeward bound. He wanted to see more conifers but was overruled? Hahaha!


  • scpalmnut
    12 days ago
    last modified: 12 days ago

    Glad you and Bruce connected. He is a great resource for those of us located in the South that are cuckoo for conifers.

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    12 days ago

    "But again the dilemma; is the stress of potting up so severe that it outweighs all of the benefits?" I repot at any time of year if the plants need it. I have yet to see a decline in vitality or appearance after such a move.

    And FWIW, I garden very heavily in containers, including my entire collection of dwarf or small conifers.. In fact, I have a Fitzroya now (not a dwarf but will remain constrained in size due to container culture) that needs repotting and soon!! Will probably tackle that in the next week or so.

  • plantkiller_il_5
    12 days ago

    NICE hall ! many species I haven't seen

    MAN, I want to see 'Red Velvet' in winter


  • davidrt28 (zone 7)
    11 days ago
    last modified: 11 days ago

    Good to see a nursery in the SE carrying these sort of plants because it seems like Cam Forest is not as interested in stocking a large variety of them as they once did. (which is fine, they have, for example, more Camellia sinensis cultivars now)

    The Fitzroya cupressoides is a bit of an eye raiser, but no harm in trying. My general experience with antipodal plants is that Chilean ones are the least likely to be heat and humidity tolerant, although there are some exceptions.

  • alley_cat_gw
    11 days ago

    I thought your place was already fantastic...You must be excited with the new haul... Thanks for the listing...I'm gonna send it down to one of my daughters in New Bern who also has a fondness for conifers ( can't understand why).
    Thanks for posting!

  • whaas_5a
    9 days ago

    Nice haul - most exotic to me.

    Dream Joy is a very underrated plant - one of the few I‘d plant.

    Upotting doesn’t cause any stress in fact just the opposite. If its pot bound the roots can start to decompress and put out new fine roots. I don’t think there was ever an instance I didn’t up pot unless I was going to plant within the week.

    Stephen Gibson (NC 7B) thanked whaas_5a
  • Michele Polito
    4 days ago

    My friend Bruce and Missy visiting my garden in zone 7a. Now you have a face for Bruce! Thank you for letting me visit Johnny. I have been purchasing from Bruce for 6 years. He came to see his plants in the ground and his comment was lush! He made my year!

  • Michele Polito
    4 days ago

  • Paul Yelton
    4 days ago

    Hi All,

    I'm not exactly new here, but I don't post much. More lurking and learning than sharing. But I couldn't pass the opportunity when I saw Bruce's name pop up. I recently made the trip to Appeldoorns from N. Atlanta area. Bruce's nursery was overwhelming. I picked up several small 1 gals. Pic below shows the larger items as well:

    Across the back is Tsuga canadensis 'Vermuellen's Winter Gold', Pinus densiflora 'Low Glow' and T. c. 'Geneva'. Front are Hinokis Nana Lutia and Bruce's 'Unnamed Miniature' which is my favorite! (The Pinus strobus 'Biltmore Blue' is from Mountain Meadows).

    It was great to meet Bruce who couldn't be a nicer host. Lots more room to plant. Can't wait to get back up there.


  • DeanW45(7b/GA)
    3 days ago

    Yes, Bruce is the man.

    I tried a Fitzroya. I'm not sure it grew an inch in three years, and then it died after last year's record heat. I'm convinced it won't ever grow to be the giant it is in the Andes, but with just the right spot it may make it down here. I actually didn't know that Bruce grew them, so that gives me hope.

  • scpalmnut
    2 days ago
    last modified: 2 days ago

    I have tried them twice in my 8a garden in SC. Never actually planted them but in pots they just hung on and would eventually die. Think it is just too hot here in the SE. OTH, have had long term success in the ground with such Southern Hemisphere oddities as Lagarostrobus, Halocarpus, and Austrocedrus.

  • Stephen Gibson (NC 7B)
    Original Author

    Scpalmnut, I’ll need to look up those species;I love the idea of some oddities, and all I’ve ever heard is that Southern Hemisphere conifers will struggle. What sort of exposure did your Fitzroya have, and I guess that can can be a broader question to anyone who has had any success with the species.

    DeanW45, the fitzroya were a small (15 or so) 2 year old cuttings he produced from a gentleman in the Laky Wylie area of SC. I met him but his name is eluding me. He was a fellow conifer addict, who apparently has collected quite a few brooms on trial at Bruce’s.

    i too can’t say enough good things about Bruce. Both visits to his nursery, he and his loveable dog Red have made the trip worthwhile. He gave me a lesson in simple semi-hardwood cutting propagation, and two stuffed ziplocks full of things he thought would give me success.

    It sounds like his kindness and passion for conifers has touched quite a few folks here in the southeast.

  • scpalmnut
    22 hours ago

    I had my Fitzroya in pots under the shade of a large tulip poplar. The summer heat they received was moderated some but apparently still not enough.

    Southern Hemisphere conifers can be tricky in the SE due to their susceptibility to soil pathogens, dislike of heat and humidity, and even to cold. It has mostly been a case of trial and error to see what can tolerate our conditions.

    If you are game for experimenting, Desert Northwest Nursery in Washington State is a good source for Southern Hemisphere material.

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