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Beautybush Linnaea amabilis

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Kolkwitzia amabilis
Phonetic Spelling
LIN-ay-ee-uh a-MAH-bih-liss
Description

The beauty bush is a deciduous shrub and a member of the honeysuckle or Caprifoliaceae family. This is a somewhat old-fashioned shrub that is grown primarily for its beautiful pink spring flowers. The shrub is upright, arching, and vase-shaped with a somewhat fountain-like appearance. It can become leggy with age because most of the foliage is at the upper part of the plant. The sprays of pink bell-shaped flowers with yellow throats appear from April to May. The foliage is dark green, broad, and ovate. Its fruits are small hairy capsules that persist on the shrub. This plant resembles another old fashion plant known as Weigela.

Beauty bush is a native of central and eastern China, and it has been introduced in the United States.

The former genus name, Kolkwitzia, is in honor of Richard Kolkwitz who was a professor of botany in Berlin, Germany in the 1900s. The specific epithet, amabilis, means "lovely."

Beauty bush prefers full sun for the best flowering, but it produces the best leaf color in filtered partial shade. It will grow easily in moist, well-drained soils. Pruning may be necessary because the shrub can become very dense and overgrown. Be aware that this plant blooms on old wood, and some flowers may be sacrificed. Ultimately, pruning will make for a more attractive plant. Pruning back to the ground may be advisable every few years. It is best to prune off the oldest stems in late winter or immediately after flowering.  Since it blooms on old wood, hard pruning in the winter will reduce blooms the following spring.

This plant is deer tolerant, clay soil tolerant, and black walnut tolerant.

Beauty bush may be planted in mass and used as a screen or hedge. It may also be used as a specimen, border, or foundation planting. This is an old-fashioned border-type shrub that is beautiful in the spring but offers very little interest ornamentally for the rest of the year.

Seasons of Interest:

Bark:  Winter   Bloom:  Spring   Foliage: Summer

Quick ID Hints:

  • deciduous shrub, 6 to 10 feet tall, rounded, arching, and vase-shaped habit
  • sprays of pink bell-shaped flowers with yellow throats that bloom in the spring
  • flower stalks are pubescent
  • dark green, simple, opposite, ovate leaves 
  • fruits are small, ovoid, hairy capsules that persist on the plant
  • exfoliating bark on mature stems

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  This shrub has no serious disease or insect problems. 

VIDEO created by Grant L. Thompson for “Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines for Landscaping” a plant identification course offered by the Department of Horticulture at Iowa State University.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Maradco' DREAM CATCHER
    soft pink flowers, foliage changes with seasons from yellow to golden chartreuse, to orange and gold
  • 'Pink Cloud'
    clear pink blooms that are slightly larger than the species
'Maradco' DREAM CATCHER, 'Pink Cloud'
Tags:
#showy flowers#deciduous#drought tolerant#interesting bark#specimen#low maintenance#winter interest#deer resistant#foundation planting#border planting#pollinator plant#clay soils tolerant#lawn planting#landscape plant sleuths course
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Maradco' DREAM CATCHER
    soft pink flowers, foliage changes with seasons from yellow to golden chartreuse, to orange and gold
  • 'Pink Cloud'
    clear pink blooms that are slightly larger than the species
'Maradco' DREAM CATCHER, 'Pink Cloud'
Tags:
#showy flowers#deciduous#drought tolerant#interesting bark#specimen#low maintenance#winter interest#deer resistant#foundation planting#border planting#pollinator plant#clay soils tolerant#lawn planting#landscape plant sleuths course
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Linnaea
    Species:
    amabilis
    Family:
    Caprifoliaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central and East Central China
    Distribution:
    Native: China North-Central, China South-Central, China Southeast. Introduced: Austria, Italy, and the United States--AL, MA, MI, NY, PA, UT, and VT
    Wildlife Value:
    The flowers attract pollinators.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Easy to Grow
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Resistant to damage by deer.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 6 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 6 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Dense
    Erect
    Irregular
    Vase
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    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
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The fruits are brown, 1/4-inch long, hairy, bristly ovoid capsules that appear in loose clusters. They typically persist on the plant after leaf drop.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Pink
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Corymb
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The flowers are sprays of pink bell-shaped blooms with yellow throats that grow in pairs. Each bloom is 1 inch long. They appear in clusters or corymbs that are about 3 inches wide. The flower stalks are pubescent. They bloom in late spring from April to May.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    White
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are dark green on the upper surface, paler beneath, ovate, 1 to 3 inches long, and 1.75 to 2 inches wide. They are deciduous, opposite, and simple with acuminate tips and rounded bases. The new leaves are downy on both sides. The leaf margins are entire or have a few sparse shallow teeth. In the fall, they transition to an undistinguished yellowish-to-reddish color before leaf drop.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Exfoliating
    Bark Description:
    The bark is light gray to brown. Old stems split vertically and exfoliate their bark which provides winter interest.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    The stems are initially fuzzy but become glabrous. The buds are small.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Foundation Planting
    Hedge
    Mass Planting
    Screen/Privacy
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Hummingbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought