Japanese Kerria

Also called Japanese rose, this easy-to-grow shrub brings bright yellow spring flowers to the garden even when planted in full shade.

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Plant type: Deciduous shrub
Hardiness: USDA Zones 4 to 9.

These beauties bear five-petaled, 1-1/4 to 1-3/4-wide flowers that are primarily produced for two or three weeks in spring, but flowers also appear sporadically through the summer months. Plants leaf out in fairly early spring and the toothed leaves remain on the plants late into the fall. Generally, the leaves do not develop any appreciable autumn color and are still green when they drop off. Unlike most shrubs, Japanese kerria bears bright yellow-green to green stems that add winter interest to the landscape. Established plants form broad clumps—and spread slowly by suckers—that are three to six feet tall and six to nine feet wide.

Cultivation: Ideally, plant Japanese kerria in partial shade to shade. Although plants will grow in full sun, their flowers fade more quickly in exposed locations. Give plants average well-drained soil. Prune as necessary immediately after flowering. Remove dead branches regularly by cutting the out at the base of the plant.

How to use it: Add Japanese kerria to shady shrub borders or include them in beds of shade-loving perennials such as hostas.

Selected Cultivars:

  • 'Albiflora'. Bears pale yellow flowers.
  • 'Golden Guinea'. Heavy blooming cultivar with large flowers, up to two inches or more across.
  • 'Pleniflora'. Also sold as 'Flora Pleno', plants bear double golden-yellow flowers that are nearly round and one to two inches across.
  • 'Picta'. Grown for its green leaves edged in white. Plants are heavy bloomers and produce single yellow flowers.

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