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The second Lubera UK Facebook Live Show




If you haven’t yet had a chance to see the video of the second English Lubera live Facebook event, then I can thoroughly recommend tuning in (here)! Markus has once again recorded a really useful and interesting show, from his garden in Switzerland. We’re all very impressed that he records the show twice - first in German and then in his characteristic and entertaining ‘Swenglish’.

Deal of the week

Markus starts with the Lubera deal of the week, which you can access via the Lubera UK front page. This week you can get 40% off a pair of standard fruit trees.

The first is Fourberry Standard Black Saphir, Ribes aureum. This lovely currant is a very ornamental plant, with yellow scented flowers followed by black fruits 4-6 weeks later.

It’s an ideal companion to Currant Standard Ribest Violette, the latest ripening redcurrant in the Lubera range. It ripens in August, at the same time as the Fourberry.

Grab your bargain while you can! Then listen as Markus discusses how standard currants such as these should be pruned, together with the benefits of pruning. (Spoiler alert: proper pruning means more fruit!)

What does hardy mean?

Frost has been on our minds in the UK recently, as we’ve had a few late and damaging frosts (the same thing has happened in Europe, too). And so Markus discusses the thorny problem that is hardiness. Markus has a lovely kiwi in his garden, which is 12 years old and covers his pergola every summer. This year its new growth has been damaged by frost. The kiwi survives, and is putting on new growth, but there will be fewer fruits this year.

Like many gardeners at the moment, Markus wishes there was someone he could blame for frost damage!

The Lubera Newsletter

Lubera publish an email newsletter in English every 2-3 weeks, with articles on new plantings, and Markus’ breeding programmes and things like that. Some of the articles are translated from German for us, but now that yours truly is on board there are some more articles with a British perspective in the pipelines!

Sign up here, and if you’re quick you’ll get the next issue, which is being sent out next week with a very special offer on peonies. 

Hardy citrus: Poncirus trifoliata and Yuzu

Markus explains that Lubera have nurseries in Switzerland and northern Germany, and that the citrus plants have to commute from German to Switzerland! They didn’t make it in time for Markus to be able to show the plants in the video.

Instead he has a  branch from the Poncirus trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’ in his garden, which is a wonderfully artistic plant, with very long thorns ideal for keeping intruders out!

Poncirus trifoliata, the Trifoliate orange,is the hardiest citrus, coming from the Chinese Himalayas. It loses its leaves in the winter, which is the key to its extreme hardiness. It has pretty, scented flowers, and little sour fruits thath can be used to make marmalade.

Yuzu, Citrus junos, is a very hardy Japanese variety, hardy to -8 or -10 degrees, which is hardy enough for most British gardens. It is very aromatic, and its juice can be used for seasoning.

Why do we need rootstocks?

Markus explains why most fruit trees are grown on rootstocks, and that Lubera apples are grown on the M9 rootstock, which was developed at the East Malling research centre in Kent. Dwarfing rootstocks control the size of trees, which means you can fit more varieties into a small space!

All about peonies

Peonies are a spring sensation, putting on a flowering show for 2-4 weeks in May and June.

Markus looks at the secrets of successfully growing the perennial peonies - the traditional Paeonia officinalis varieties, and the more modern Paeonia x lactiflora varieties, which are available in more colours. He explains how they differ, in terms of care, from the woody peonies, Paeonia suffruticosa.

If you’re a peony fan, don’t forget to sign up for the Lubera newsletter, to make sure you get the special offer next week.

Sweet potatoes and Oca

Lubera specialise in fruits, but Markus is expanding the range into fruits of the soil - root fruits! In this show he talks about two very different tubers, which need very different growing conditions.

The Sweet potatoes love full sun in summer, and need plenty of space to grow in. New varieties are earlier, and easier to grow in the UK. Evangeline is a very ornamental variety, with green leaves with red tips. It produces the largest roots, with sweet, orange flesh. If you treat it like a climbing plant, and give it something to clamber up, then Evangeline can do very well in containers.

Oca, Oxalis tuberosa, needs shade in summer. The plants stop growing if they are in full sun. They will grow in shady spots other plants don’t like. Oca produces tubers as the days shorten, from September to November, so they aren’t dug until November. You can earth them up in July and August to produce more fruits from buried stems.

Markus shares his favourite way to eat oca, and explains how best to store your root fruits!

Resistant Apples

Lubera doesn’t sell the standard apple varieties, because they need to be sprayed several times to produce a good crop. Instead, Lubera breeds and sells disease resistant varieties for gardeners, so there’s no need to spray.

A particularly sweet variety is Myra. It ripens in October, but stores until Christmas, when it is sweet and crispy, so it’s known as the Christmas apple.

Do apples and pears really need a pollination partner?

Traditional gardening advice is that apple and pear trees should be planted with a pollination partner - a different variety that blooms at the same time. Markus explains that - unless an apple tree is very isolated (hundreds of metres from the next tree), it will be successfully pollinated by bees and other insects.

Insects and bees during the pollination period have enough pollen except for trees that are very isolated - hundreds of metres isolated. In the UK climate. Bees specialise in one crop, they concentrate on apples when the apple blossom is out, so there is a good probability that there will be no pollination problems.


Markus responds to two questions posed during the live show. He suggests a Malini columnar apple tree for planting in a front garden. Subito is a more acid variety; Pronto is very sweet. They’re both early, ripening from the end of August, and resistant to scab.

And Markus explains that peach trees can be difficult in northern European climates, because of peach leaf curl disease in spring. At the moment there are no varieties that are 100% resistant, but there are more tolerant ones. He recommends the Harrow varieties, and Benedicte, and tells us that Lubera are still searching for, and trying to breed, varieties with more peach leaf curl resistance.

That’s is for this week. Tune in 6pm on Tuesday for the next Facebook live show with Markus! In the meantime, don’t forget to sign up for the Lubera newsletter.

Emma Cooper




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