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Slender Deutzia Deutzia gracilis

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Deutzia nagurai
Phonetic Spelling
DOO-zee-uh GRASS-il-is
Description

Slender deutzia is a rounded, deciduous shrub with slender spreading and arching stems that grows 2 to 5 feet tall. The shrub has dark green leaves and tiny white fragrant flowers that cover the plant in the spring. It is a member of the Hydrangeaceae or hydrangea family. 

It is native to Central and Southern Japan and has been introduced to China North-Central, China Southeast, and in the States of Alabama, Georgia, and Maryland.

The genus name, Deutzia, honors a Dutch amateur botanist from the 1700sJohan van der Deutz. The species name, gracilis, is Latin for "graceful" or "slender,"

Slender Deutzia flowers best in full sun, but partial shade is tolerated. In very hot summer climates, this shrub would benefit from afternoon shade. The plant prefers moist, well-drained soils of most types and is pH adaptable. Its appearance will be unkempt looking if left unpruned. Annual pruning is recommended immediately after flowering. It can be propagated by softwood cuttings in the summer. This plant is seldom damaged by deer and is drought tolerant. It is very adaptable to adverse conditions including transplanting, cold, pollution, and diseases.

The stems are brown and smooth, and the leaves are ovate to lanceolate with serrated margins. Slender Deutzia is a heavy bloomer with narrow clusters of white, bell, or star-shaped flowers. The buds are pin-head sized in contrast to those of Exchorda racemosa which are pearl-sized.

Consider the Slender Deutzia for a Cottage Garden, border garden, foundation planting, or formal hedge. The cultivar, 'Nikko' is considered one of the best Deutzia cultivars because it is low growing. It is ideal for small gardens and has abundant clusters of white flowers in the spring and burgundy fall foliage. This plant received the Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society and was also the winner of the Gold Medal Award of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

Seasons of Interest:

Bloom:  Spring        Foliage:  Spring and Summer       

Quick ID Hints:

  • dense, rounded deciduous shrub with spreading and arching brown smooth stems
  • bright to deep green simple, opposite, ovate to lanceolate leaves with serrated margins, hairy on the upper and lower surface
  • clusters of the brilliant white bell to star-shaped flowers
  • half-circle shaped fruit capsule

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Slender Deutzia is generally pest and disease-free. Aphids and leaf miners may be occasional insect pests. The chlorophyll can bleach out of leaves in high sun conditions. The shrub needs to be protected from late spring frosts.

There are more than 60 species of Deutzia. Some species and cultivars may have been sold or traded under incorrect names.  A study was completed by William G. Hembree, Thomas Ranney, Nathan P. Lynch, and Brian E. Jackson at North Carolina State University to correct and update the species names for the cultivars studied. The study was published in the Journal of American Society for Horticultural Science and is entitled, "Identification, Genome Sizes and Ploidy of Deutzia." The cultivar "Pink Minor" was rekeyed to the species of Deutzia gracilis instead of Deutzia scabra. 

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/338665982_Identification_Genome_Sizes_and_Ploidy_of-Deutzia

Learn more about Deutzia.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Duncan' or 'Chardonnay Pearls'
    Compact shrub with lime yellow leaves, pearl-like buds, white flowers
  • 'Nikko'
    Dwarf, dense, rounded shrub with abundant clusters of white flowers, fall foliage color
  • 'Nikko Dawn'
  • 'Pink Minor'
'Duncan' or 'Chardonnay Pearls', 'Nikko', 'Nikko Dawn', 'Pink Minor'
Tags:
#showy flowers#deciduous#fragrant flowers#drought tolerant#low maintenance#air pollution tolerant#hedges#disease resistant#deer resistant#adaptable#foundation planting#cold tolerant#fantz#flowers late spring#clay soils tolerant#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#shrub borders#woodland garden
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Duncan' or 'Chardonnay Pearls'
    Compact shrub with lime yellow leaves, pearl-like buds, white flowers
  • 'Nikko'
    Dwarf, dense, rounded shrub with abundant clusters of white flowers, fall foliage color
  • 'Nikko Dawn'
  • 'Pink Minor'
'Duncan' or 'Chardonnay Pearls', 'Nikko', 'Nikko Dawn', 'Pink Minor'
Tags:
#showy flowers#deciduous#fragrant flowers#drought tolerant#low maintenance#air pollution tolerant#hedges#disease resistant#deer resistant#adaptable#foundation planting#cold tolerant#fantz#flowers late spring#clay soils tolerant#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#shrub borders#woodland garden
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Deutzia
    Species:
    gracilis
    Family:
    Hydrangeaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central & South Japan
    Distribution:
    Native: Japan; Introduced: China North-Central, China Southeast, and the United States--AL, GA, and MD
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Easy to Grow
    Fragrance
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    This plant is seldom damaged from deer. Drought tolerant.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Dense
    Erect
    Mounding
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The flowers are followed by a dehiscent, brown, half-circled-shaped capsule that measures 5 mm in diameter.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Star
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Each flower is pure white, bell-shaped or star-shaped, and measures 0.75-inches in diameter. They appear on 3 to 5 inches long racemes or narrow panicles of 12 to 25 flowers. They bloom from March to April on old wood and have a mild fragrance.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Papery
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Insignificant
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are opposite, simple, bright to deep green, and measure 1 to 3 inches long and 0.5 inches wide. They are ovate to lanceolate with rounded bases and pointed tips. The upper and lower surface of the leaf hairs, and the margins are serrated. They usually have no significant fall color except for the cultivar, 'Nikko,' which has burgundy fall foliage.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    The stems are brown and smooth.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Foundation Planting
    Hedge
    Small groups
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Diseases
    Drought
    Pollution
    Salt