Sunday, May 8, 2011


Kolkwitzia amabilis

The one and only species in the Kolkwitzia genus which is however related to the Weigelas and Deutzias. It is a rare native to the mountains of central China. The Beauty Bush is a fast growing, large shrub reaching up to 12 x 12 or rarely 20 x 20 feet with long arching branches. Some records include: 5 years - 6.5 x 6.5 feet; 10 years - 10 x 8 feet.
The tapered, broadly-oval leaves are up to 3 x 2 inches in size. The foliage is reddish at first, quickly turning to dull green then to dull red during autumn. The leaves are oppositely-arranged on the stems.
During late spring the shrub is covered in masses of medium-pink, bell-shaped flowers, up to 0.5 inches wide, with yellowish throats. The fragrant flowers are borne in corymbs ( clusters ) up to 3 inches wide.
Hardy zones 4 to 8 and very heat tolerant. Prefers full sun on fertile, well drained soil. Tolerant of limestone soils and temporary drought. Beauty Bush is rarely bothered by pests or disease and is rabbit and deer resistant. Pruning is typically nothing more than tidying up after blooming. It is easy to turn a Beauty Bush into an ugly bush by shearing. This is NOT a hedge. Only plant it where it has room to be itself. To renovate an aging shrub; simply cut to ground immediately after blooming; it will grow back. Propagation can be from removed suckers or softwood cuttings taken late spring to early summer. Seed can be sown as soon as it ripens. It can be soaked in water for 24 hours before sowing at 0.25 inches deep but no pretreatment is required.

* photos taken on May 5 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* photo taken on May 16 2010 @ Cylburn Arboretum, Baltimore, MD

* photos taken on May 8 2012 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on May 7 2014 @ London Town Gardens, Edgewater, MD

* photo taken on Apr 17 2016 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on June 17 2016 in Columbia, MD

* historic archive photo

'Dream Catcher'
Very attractive with bronze-red spring foliage turning soft golden yellow in summer then to to golden-orange in autumn.
Reaches up to 8 x 6 feet in 10 years; eventually to 9 x 10 feet. Unlike the species; this cultivar is best in dappled sun in woodland gardens.

* photo taken on June 12 2014 in Clarksville, MD

* photos taken on Apr 24 2016 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photo taken on Nov 19 2016 @ London Town Gardens, Edgewater, MD

'Pink Cloud'
Flowers are slightly larger and deeper pink.

* photo taken by Milan Havlis ( )

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