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Unraveling the Charms of Kerria: A Refreshing Addition to Your Landscape

Updated: May 13

JAPANESE KERRIA (Kerria japonica 'Pleniflora')

I want to spend this week taking a quick look at a shrub that maybe most of you have never heard of before - Kerria! This is a new one even to me, I just started using it a few years ago. This spring flowering deciduous shrub would be what gardeners might call an ‘exotic’ - a non-native plant that has been introduced into our region and grows well here.

In my experience I wouldn’t consider this shrub to exhibit ‘invasive’ growth tendencies - and it doesn’t usually get labeled as an aggressive or invasive plant, just a non-native. As much as I love planting natives and always encourage it, I’m also always on the lookout for new and interesting plants!

This is a great one for a lot of reasons. Beautiful and interesting spring flowers are bright yellow and bloom for several weeks. I think it’s a nice alternative to the ubiquitous yellow of forsythia. During the winter its bright green stems standout in the landscape, and give us something colorful to look at, similar to a red or yellow twig dogwood shrub.

There are innumerable varieties of Hellebore, with all different shades of color and types of flowers. My preference is for something in the “antiqued” pink and white family, and I love any kind of double-flowering or ruffled flower variety as well. The dark green, glossy foliage provides a great backdrop for the rest of the growing season, and they remain up and green throughout the winter as well, giving us that much sought after “winter interest”. Another ‘garden workhorse’ that gives you value all year long.



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