The stems of the japonica kerria are thin, arched, poorly branched, each plant produces numerous basal buds, which tend to develop fairly quickly.
The foliage is deciduous, small, dark green; the leaves have a serrated or indented edge.
In spring, from March to May, it produces countless small golden yellow flowers, with five petals, similar to small yellow roses.
On the market you can find numerous cultivars, the most common is K. j. pleniflora, with double flowers, similar to small pompoms; there are also cultivars with white flowers, or with delicately variegated foliage.
Usually the spring flowering is very abundant, followed by a second flowering at the end of the summer, with production of a few scattered buds.
This plant is very common in the gardens of the past, especially in the case of the variety Pleniflora, now seems to be enjoying a second youth, although in recent years are spreading particularly the varieties with simple flowers.
Japanese kerries tolerate any exposure, from full shade to full sun. Usually the plants placed in total shade tend to produce few flowers, while the buds of the specimens in full sun are short-lived and tend to whiten with exposure to sunlight.
The kerria japonica is a shrub definitely suitable for the half-shade, where its flowering is abundant and long lasting and the development of the plant quite vigorous.
These plants bloom on the branches of the previous year, so we recommend pruning after flowering in the spring.
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Usually the kerries of Japan are not very demanding as far as the water requirements are concerned; if the climate is favourable they tend to be satisfied with the rains; let’s avoid that the soil remains dry for very long periods in spring and autumn.
In February it is advisable to add to the soil at the foot of the shrub well mature organic fertilizer.
This japonica variety prefers medium-textured, fairly deep and rich soils, which are very well drained. Avoid planting this plant in a place with water stagnation or with very heavy and poor soil.
In autumn, or at the end of winter, separate the new stems that form at the base of the mother plant. Cuttings, 10-15 cm long, can also be made, taking them in summer from the lateral branches and planting them in a cold case without need of protection. Always in summer, it is also possible to realize the layering which, without much difficulty, will root in a short time.
Kerria of Japan – Kerria japonica: Parasites and diseases
Particularly dangerous for the kerries of Japan are the fungi of the genus Cylindrosporium, which attack the shoots and lead to the drying up of the leaves. The best thing to do is to cut off both the tips and the diseased leaves. In addition to this, there are currently sporadic Blumeriella infections.
Between insects, caterpillars can attack roots and cause serious damage.