Plant of the Week: Kerria Japonica (Japanese Rose)

April 14, 2011 — Leave a comment

Kerria in Part Shade

Kerria: Close up of Flowers and Leaves

Kerria in Full Shade

Kerria in Early Spring (currently hiding in the compost pile while the chimney is being worked on)















Kerria Japonica
(Japanese Rose, Kerria Rose)

Type: Perennial Shrub (Zones 5-9). Looses it leaves in winter.
Light Requirements: Part Sun to Shade (in sunnier locations the yellow flowers tend to bleach out)
Moisture/Soil: Average moisture (although does okay with less once established). Neautral to slightly acidic soil.
Blooms: Mid spring.  Lots of Yellow blooms that last for several weeks.
Leaves: Green w/ nice bright green stalks in winter.
Size: Height: 5-7′  Width: 3′-5′ (prune the top if you want it to be shorter & if can get wider if suckers are not controlled)
Additional Info: I like to grow this along the fence. It can get a little top heavy  but I like the shape of the thin arching stems hanging over the fence. I think it has a nice romantic feel. I also cut mine back fairly aggressively after it flowers since I prefer it to look tall and lean over super bushy. Also by cutting it back I usually get a smaller bloom in the fall. I also like to cut out the woodier stems. Also I have noticed that it grows much slower in shadier locations.

Pros: This plant does very well for me in part shade and shade and in clay soil. It seems to do well where other plants might not. The beautiful yellow flowers are very pretty in the spring. A good alternate to Forsythia (which I don’t care for).  In the winter the bright green stems are a nice contrast to the snow.

Cons: The plant will sucker at the bottom. I usually cut these out in the spring. Mine is cut from my mom’s yard (she got some from a friend).

Origin: China and Japan.

Varieties: There are several varieties to choose from, I appear to just have the “common” variety.

‘Golden Guinea’ - Notable for the large flowers (to 2″ wide) that bloom for a long period.

‘Picta’ (probably the same as ‘Variegata’) – Smaller form with leaves edged with a thin white margin. It is a weaker grower (to 4′ tall) and prefers a
shaded spot. The flower performance is also inferior to the species.

‘Pleniflora’ (also listed as ‘Flora Pleno’) – Features double, ball-shaped blooms that are an orange-yellow hue. This cultivar appears to grow larger and
more gangly than the species, to 8′ tall.

‘Shannon’ - This vigorous plant is becoming more common in specialty catalogs. It grows to 6′ tall and offers larger blooms that appear earlier.

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