Friday, March 23, 2012

Kerria


Japanese Kerria (Kerria japonica)

There are some plants (okay, a lot of plants) that I consider "must haves" in the garden and this is one of them. Kerria, also known as the "Yellow Rose of Texas" or the "Easter Rose" is simply a wonderful shrub, easy to grow, and it has never failed me. In fact, a few weeks ago when it started to bloom, I wondered if it would meet the same fate as the Yoshino Cherries and the Alabama Snow Wreath - the week-long temperatures of 80+ degrees did them in and their blooms only lasted a few days. A sad disappointment, but the Kerria stood its ground and it is still beautiful. It blooms for a long time and is always blooming at Easter time.


This is a woodland-type shrub and does well with some shade. I've always been partial to shrubs that have cascading fountains of blooms. Kerria sends out long branches loaded with bright yellow pom poms, growing anywhere from 4 to 10 feet in height and spread. The bright green stems remain green throughout the winter. It will sucker and you can dig these up and plant elsewhere or share with friends. I rarely see this shrub in commercial nurseries but it is easily found in local plant sales.


"Plenifora" is the most common variety and I think it is the most beautiful. It has lush double flowers. "Picta" is a variegated variety and there is a single variety that isn't near as profuse or showy as the double. 


Plant it in a semi-shaded location with good soil. Once established it is drought tolerant. After blooming, cut back the oldest stems to the ground to encourage new growth. This is a wonderful heirloom shrub that I highly recommend.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

10 comments:

  1. When I was a small child, my grandmother had one in her garden. I was fascinated with the golden carnation like flowers. So of course, when I started gardening, I had to have one. Unfortunately, I'm on the edge of it's zone, and most years the branches don't make it through the winter, even though it regrows from the base. So no flowers since it blooms on old wood. But I keep trying and this year due to the mild winter we had, it is nice and green and I should get a bounty of flowers for once. :-)

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  2. Kerria is so beautiful right now and your photo is stunning. I just don't have the right spot to grow it.

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  3. I have this beauty too. I think once it is established you can't kill it and as you say it is so reliable. Mine blooms profusely during the early spring. After that it blooms sporatically until frost I almost always have a few blooms to add to an arrangement.

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  4. Beautiful. When we were kids we had an almond bush. I just loved the pink rose like flowers. I now have a couple and saved a bridal wreath spirea from an old home site. I need to add this to my have list. Mary

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  5. What a gorgeous shrub! I like that yours is planted in front of a dark fence, better to show off the lovely blooms.

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  6. I'm a Kerria fan too. Yours looks totally happy!

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  7. I have this shrub and love it....and wish that it were more commercially available. It's so much nicer in the garden that forsythia!

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  8. Beautiful and great photos too. :)

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  9. I love it. Looks orange-ier than I expect when I think of Kerria.

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