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Japanese Kerria Kerria japonica

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
KER-ee-a juh-PON-ih-kuh
Description

Japanese kerria is a deciduous shrub in the Rosaceae (rose) family that grows natively from central and southern China to southern Korea and Japan. It has upright, arching, slender stems that form a broad, dense, twiggy mass, reaching 7 feet tall and up to 9 feet wide. 

Japanese kerria is meant for the shade garden, as its flowers fade in full sun. This plant requires loamy, well-drained soil of medium fertilization. Avoid high fertilization, because it becomes weedy. This plant also tends to become leggy and therefore requires heavy pruning as necessary. 

Place Japanese kerria as an accent plant or specimen in a butterfly or children’s garden. It also works well in a drought tolerant garden, as it is resistant to drought as well as deer. 

Quick ID Hints:

  • Deciduous shrub with cane-like growth
  • Leaves are plicate; stems are green, zig-zag, and shiny
  • Solitary, terminal bright yellow flowers that are 1 to 1.5 inches
  • Flowers are five-petaled or double and spherical

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious problems. This plant occasionally suffers from blights, cankers, leaf spots, and root rot. 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Golden Guinea'
  • K. japonica 'Pleniflora'
    Has double flowers that are nearly ball-shaped and 1"-2" in diameter.
  • 'Plena'
'Golden Guinea', K. japonica 'Pleniflora', 'Plena'
Tags:
#deciduous#yellow flowers#deciduous shrub#shade garden#cpp#well-drained soil#deer resistant#children's garden#playground plant#pollinator plant#fantz#loamy soils tolerant#partial shade tolerant#pruning tolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Golden Guinea'
  • K. japonica 'Pleniflora'
    Has double flowers that are nearly ball-shaped and 1"-2" in diameter.
  • 'Plena'
'Golden Guinea', K. japonica 'Pleniflora', 'Plena'
Tags:
#deciduous#yellow flowers#deciduous shrub#shade garden#cpp#well-drained soil#deer resistant#children's garden#playground plant#pollinator plant#fantz#loamy soils tolerant#partial shade tolerant#pruning tolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Kerria
    Species:
    japonica
    Family:
    Rosaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central & Southern China to Southern Korea and Japan
    Wildlife Value:
    Flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Deer resistant, drought tolerant
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 7 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 6 ft. 0 in. - 9 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Dense
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    6-feet-12 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Saucer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Flowers are bright yellow in spring and are at the terminal end of short leafy stems of previous year's growth. There are usually 5 petals, but there is a double cultivar. Flowers are 2" in size.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Doubly Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are alternate, simple, ovate-lanceolate, acuminate, cuneate, double serrate, and plicate. They are bright green and glabrous above and are paler and slightly pubescent below on the veins. In fall, some leaves turn yellow. They are 1 1/2"-4" long and a littler over 1" wide.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Zig Zags
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Stems are slender, green, zig-zag, glabrous, glossy, supple, cane-like, suckering, and are branching in second season of growth.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Recreational Play Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Children's Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Problems:
    Frequent Disease Problems
    Frequent Insect Problems
    Weedy