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Japanese Kerria Has Multi-Season Appeal

If you need color in your shady woodland garden consider planting Japanese kerria, either as an accent or as a massed shrub border.

japenese kerria

Photo: Mindy Georges (flickr)

Japanese Kerria growning in the corner of a fenced yard.

Japanese kerria’s bright yellow flowers bloom profusely in the spring and intermittently all through the summer. It grows to about 5 feet tall and can form a thicket almost as wide. It likes partial to full shade and moist well-drained, humus-type soil. It can, however, be planted in sun if not exposed to wind. Occasionally it may bleach out if there is no respite from hot sun.

Thankfully it is not attractive to deer and generally is resistant to pests and disease. It works really well as an under story plant under tall deciduous trees, and in these conditions the only care needed is pruning. When pruning, remove all dead wood, and any stems that are old and thick should be cut to the ground. The height as well as the shape can be controlled by pruning so that branches are removed to encourage a loose airy mound.

During the summer and fall the foliage looks green and fresh, and the arching branches remain green even in winter to give kerria multi-season appeal. This versatile shrub is a wonderful addition to a tranquil woodland space.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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