Mitch Magee of Evergreen Nursery in Poplarville, MS has been active in the nursery business for over 30 years. In addition to growing plants, he’s also been selecting and breeding plants during this time. He selected the Red Hollies that were released by Plant Development Services, Inc. as part of their Southern Living® Plant Collection, and is the breeder of the Colorama™ and Thunderstruck™ series of crapemyrtles that are part of the Garden Debut® Plant Collection. Mitch recently went back to breeding hollies, crossing Liberty® Red Holly with Blue Prince® Holly to create some exciting new hollies that have the growth vigor of the Red hollies combined with the foliage color and cold hardiness of the Blue hollies.
When Mitch began breeding crapemyrtles in 2010, his goal was to select large crapemyrtles that would have:
- Vigorous growth to shorten production time for nurseries.
- Dark burgundy foliage color for all season interest, even when not in flower.
- Strong branching that won’t flop down when the plants are blooming.
- Disease resistance to powdery mildew and Cercospora leaf spot.
He accomplished all of these goals with the Colorama™ and Thunderstruck™ Crapemyrtles. The Colorama™ series of green leaf crapemyrtles consists of Scarlet and Lilac Mist. The Thunderstruck™ series of dark leaf crapemyrtles includes Coral Boom, Lavender Blast, Lavender Skies, Rumblin’ Red, Ruby, White Flash and White Lightning™.
Mitch began crossing hollies again in 2015 using Liberty™ Holly and Blue Prince Holly. The goal was to develop upright growing, vigorous hollies that would be cold hardy. The initial crosses yielded a number of promising selections, and four are moving forward for additional testing in the ground for cold hardiness and at nurseries for ease of production. Stay tuned for exciting news about how these new hollies perform around the country!