Sorbaria sorbifolia ‘Sem’
While we tend to fix our gardener’s gaze on flowers more than foliage, there is much to admire about a plant whose foliage upon emerging in spring is simply dazzling. ‘Sem’ doesn’t just leaf out, its leaves unfurl deliciously slow, revealing a fantastic shade of caramel pink that becomes deeper as the days pass. When this foliage matures it becomes chartreuse green throughout the summer, and then finally a coppery-bronze in autumn. There are flowers too; creamy-white plumes in summer like those of the astilbe.
NUTS AND BOLTS
A deciduous shrub, ‘Sem’ grows to a compact one metre tall and wide. It grows equally well in full sun or part shade, and isn’t fussy about soil types. Regular moisture during the hot summer months will keep the foliage looking fresh. It’s hardy to -40 deg. C.
IN THE GARDEN
Sorbaria ‘Sem’ is one versatile plant, much more so than the species which grows up to two metres tall and wide. It’s a great choice to fill those spots where you need something but don’t know what, because it looks good year-round and needs only minimal attention. ‘Sem’ would also make a good low hedge, forming a tight thicket of stems after a couple of growing seasons if planted a metre apart. It’s hardy enough to grow in a large container, where its foliage would contrast or compliment a variety of colours from annuals or perennials.