Also known as Japanese rose, kerria is an old-fashioned shrub making a comeback in the garden. Long loved for its arching, bright green stems, kerria provides welcome winter interest and petite yellow flowers in early spring. Its rose-like flowers are some of the first blossoms to appear in spring, wrapping the plant in a cheerful yellow glow. This easy-to-grow shrub is perfect for use in <a href="https://www.bhg.com/gardening/trees-shrubs-vines/shrubs/add-a-shrub-bor… shrub borders.
Using Kerria In The Garden
Plant a single kerria in a shrub border or in the back of a perennial border where it will stand out in spring and blend in with other plants the rest of the season. It makes a great foundation plant, grows well along property lines, or fences and reliably adds a seasonal interest in spring and again in winter. Plant several kerria together for a living garden screen. Good planting companions include shrub roses, weigela, catmint, and Russian sage.
How to Care For Kerria
Kerria is not particular about lighting and grows well in full sun or full shade. It performs best in moist, rich soil but will tolerate poorly drained soil as well as sandy soil and drought. Kerria spreads slowly to form a clump. Keep this spreading habit in mind when selecting a planting location.
Plant kerria in spring. Spread a 2-inch-thick layer of mulch over the plant's root zone to preserve soil moisture. Water kerria regularly during the first year after planting to establish a strong root system.
Mature kerria shrubs occasionally experience winter dieback. Older, central stems often die. These white-brown dead stems are noticeable in early spring among the live stems, which are bright green and beginning to unfurl leaves. Remove the dead stems as soon as they are noticed in early spring. Old, ragged kerria shrubs can be rejuvenated by renewal pruning in early spring. Begin renewal pruning by removing all the dead stems and then cutting the remaining live stems back to about 12 inches above ground. Maintain the desired size and shape by pruning kerria moderately in spring just after flowering.
More Varieties of Kerria
This cultivar of Kerria japonica 'Pleniflora' is an extra-showy selection that bears double yellow flowers in early spring. It grows 6 feet tall and 8 feet wide. Zones 5-9.
Kerria japonica 'Picta' adds interest to the landscape from spring to fall with its rich green foliage edged in pure white. It grows 6 feet tall and 8 feet wide. Zones 5-9.