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Plant Profile: Japanese Kerria (Kerria japonica)

Kerria japonica singleThis deciduous shrub offers masses of yellow flowers on upright and arching green stems for two or three weeks in April or May and may rebloom in the summer. The flowers may be single or double and last longer when the bushes are grown in some shade. They are long-lasting cut flowers. The simple, alternate leaves are bright green and create a crisp texture with their doubly serrated margins. The stems are bright green to yellow-green and add winter interest to the garden. Plants produce suckers and colonize well so are useful in naturalistic plantings as well as in a shrub border or foundation planting. Because of its shade tolerance it a valuable shrub in a woodland setting and it is a traditional wall plant in cottage gardens.

Type: Deciduous flowering shrub

Outstanding Feature: Yellow flowers in April or May; shade tolerance

Form: Upright and arching

Growth Rate: Medium

Bloom: Yellow flowers 1.5-2” across, single or double, borne singly in April or May, sometimes with summer rebloom.

Size: 3-6’ H x 10’ W

Light: Sun or part shade, but flowering best in part shade especially in hot climates; sun fades the flowers.

Soil: Moderately fertile, moist, well-drained; moderately drought tolerant one established.

Fertilizer: Over fertilizing will result in vegetative growth at the expense of flowers.

Hardiness: Zones 4 or 5 to 9

Care: Prune after flowering; rejuvenate plant occasionally by cutting stems to the ground.

Pests and Diseases: Generally pest resistant but susceptible to damage by leaf spot, twig blight, Stem cankers and Japanese beetles

Propagation: Cuttings (easy), division

Outstanding Selections:

    ‘Pleniflora’ – double flowers but grows larger and ganglier than otherskerria_japonica double

    ‘Golden Guinea’ – large single flowers.

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