Yellow Spring flowering Shrub Kerria Japonica Pleniflora is also known by its two more common names of Jews Mantle or Batchelor's Buttons. It is a native of China, Japan and The Korean Peninsula. The cultivar Pleniflora is named after William Kerr a young Scottish Kew gardener, plant hunter and collector. Kerria Japonica was one of the numerous plants he sent back to The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew in London, as part of an expedition organised by the East India Company to China to find new and undiscovered plants in 1804. It was the Kerria shrub which was subsequently named in his honour.
Kerria Japonica Pleniflora tends to grow in a thick clump of numerous stems. It is a vigorous grower and will reach a maximum height of around 3.5 metres (12feet) in 8-9 years It produces suckers around the thicket increasing the shrubs width year on year but this seldom reaches beyond the 3 metre mark (10feet). They are however easily maintained and because of their tolerance to most conditions are an ideal shrub to plant in those 'difficult' garden places. Deciduous during Winter, they are prolific flowerers from mid Spring their yellow blooms creating an enormous amount of cheer in celebration of the new growing season.
Planting and Pruning
Kerria Japonica Pleniflora will tolerate most soil conditions providing it is reasonably drained. It is happy in full sun or partial shade and can cope with almost all aspects and exposed conditions. To plant a new shrub from a pot you can give it the best start by digging a hole twice the size of the pot. Add in plenty of compost and a handful of fish blood and bone meal. Water well in and continue to keep moist for the first year or until the shrub becomes established. this is particularly important over the Summer months. It is important to prune Kerria straight after flowering. In Britain that means ideally not later than the second week of June. The reason for this is that they flower on growth from the previous year, so the new shoots that emerge through the Summer will have plenty of time to develop ready to flower the following Spring. They should be cut back quite hard removing old flower stems and dead wood. This should encourage new growth from the base.
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