Saturday, 25 January 2014

Growing Mulberry Trees

Growing Mulberries in containers - and more.
The mystical and romantic associations of the Mulberry tree can be enjoyed even in a small garden or a good sized patio pot – with the introduction of our new compact selection, named ‘Black Lady’. Attached is a photo of the ripening fruits of this gorgeous Black Mulberry tree, taken here on the Nursery.
Black Lady is more short-jointed than normal Mulberry Trees which has led to a size reduction of some 20% compared to Morus nigra. The logan-shaped ruby red to black fruits appear in generous clusters, ripening from late July. The flavour is superb – sharp, aromatic, powerful and just made for jams, conserves and serving with vanilla ice cream!
These are good-looking trees at all stages, densely clad in large toothed leaves, a tree of noble character, these leaves turn to all manner of gold and russet shades in Autumn. We shall endeavour to post a further picture then.
Black Lady is entirely hardy and slow growing; grow it in a 24” pot of John Innes no 2 compost and it will be happy for many years and you may even see fruit within 3 seasons. That’s pretty good going for a Mulberry Tree – traditionally they take 10 years or more to fruit!
You can of course grow any Mulberry in a pot and there are other species and varieties too. Of these, 'King James' [syn Chelsea] is probably the most noteworthy. Propagated from the Black Mulberry Tree growing in the King James Physic Garden, Chelsea, London, it has very good quality black fruits of exceptional flavour.
Mulberries are not just black - white and red forms appear too.
The White Mulberry, Morus alba has a milder, sweeter flavour than the Black kinds, you can eat them straight from the tree which is certainly something you would never do with a Black Mulberry as they are much too sharp. The leaves of the white Mulberry tree are shiny and pale green, turning golden yellow in Autumn. A particularly ornamental form is the weeping white Mulberry, Morus alba pendula. For the most productive white Mulberry I recommend White Wonder, a new selection from Europe.
Lastly there is the 'red' Mulberry, a great speciality from America. Morus rubra has fruits somewhere between the white and black in character, colour and flavour. It's very hardy to find and seldom grown but well worth seeking out.

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