How to Grow Kerria — Japanese Rose

Double-flowered Japanese rose - Latin name - Kerria japonica Pleniflora

Kerria–commonly called Japanese rose–is a deciduous spring-blooming shrub. Single or double yellow flowers are saucer- or cup-shaped.  Japanese rose can be grown as a specimen shrub or grow several in a colorful border.

Kerria belongs to the Rose family. It is not particular about the soil but prefers a well-drained and sheltered position, doing well in partial shade.

The light green twiggy stems of Kerriea are very decorative in winter.

Kerria is a genus of one species. It is native to thickets and woodland in China and Japan.

Kerria japonica blooming in spring
Kerria japonica blooming in spring

Get to Know Kerria

  • Plant type: Deciduous spring-blooming shrub
  • Growing Zones and range: 5-9
  • Hardiness: Hardy
  • Height and width: 4 to 5 feet (1.5m) tall, 5 to 6 feet (2m) wide
  • Foliage: Ovate or pointed simple creased and folded dark green leaves are alternate
  • Flowers: Single or double five-petaled saucer- or cup-shaped yellow flowers
  • Bloom time: Mid-spring
  • Uses: Shrub border or woodland garden
  • Garden companions: ‘Miss Kim’ lilac (Syringa pubescens subsp. Patula ‘Miss Kim’) 
  • Common name: Japanese Rose
  • Botanical name: Kerria japonica
  • Family: Rosaceae
  • Origin: China and Japan

Where to Plant Kerria

  • Kerria needs full to part sun; flowers may fade without full sun.
  • Grow Kerria in humus-rich, well-drained soil, that is moist.
  • Give Kerria room to display its arching form.  
 Japanese rose, Kerria japonica pleniflora
Japanese rose, Kerria japonica pleniflora

When to Plant Kerria

  • Set Kerria in the garden in spring, summer, or fall.

Planting and Spacing Kerria

  • Space Kerria 5 to 6 feet apart.

How to Water and Feed Kerria

  • Kerria needs ample water; keep the soil evenly moist.
  • Fertilize Kerria by adding aged compost around the base of the plant each spring.
  • Mulch with compost or aged manure after pruning.

Kerria Care

  • Kerria blooms on the previous year’s growth. Immediately after flowering, cut out flowering shoots to the ground or cut back severely.
  • Thin out old stems after flowering.
  • When plant becomes overgrown, renew by cutting entire shrub down to just a few inches.

Kerria Common Problems

  • Fireblight, leaf and twig blight, and canker can occur.
Japanese kerria rose, Kerria japonica
Japanese kerria rose, Kerria japonica

Kerria Propagation

  • Take greenwood cuttings in summer.
  • Divide Kierra in autumn.
  • Suckers can pop up a couple feet from the parent; use them for easy propagation. 

Kerria Varieties to Grow

  • Kerria japonica, suckering shrub with arching green shoots and ovate, pointed, sharply toothed, bright green leaves, to 4 inches (10cm) long. In mid- and late spring, produces solitary, single or double, golden yellow flowers, 1.25-2 inches (3-5cm) across. To 6 feet (2m) tall and 8 feet (2.5m) wide. China, Japan.  ‘Pleniflora’ has double, pompom-like flowers. ‘Variegated’ has single flowers and leaf margins that are white.

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