Japanese kerria kerria japonica

Kerria Japanese Rose: Tips On Growing A Japanese Kerria

In spite of its graceful appearance, Kerria Japanese rose, also known as Japanese rose plant, is as tough as nails, growing in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 9. Kerria Japanese rose is rarely bothered by pests and tends to be deer resistant. Read on for tips on growing a Japanese Kerria in your own garden.

Growing a Japanese Kerria

Kerria Japanese rose (Kerria japonica) is a versatile shrub with arching, greenish-yellow stems and masses of golden-yellow, chrysanthemum-like flowers that put on a show in spring. The bright green leaves turn yellow in fall, and the stems provide color in the depths of winter, after the deciduous foliage is long gone.

Japanese rose plants grow in moderately fertile, well-drained soil, and don’t perform well in heavy clay. Although Kerria Japanese rose tolerates full sunlight in cool climates, it generally prefers a site in afternoon shade. Too much sunlight causes the shrub to take on a bleached appearance and the flowers tend to fade quickly.

Japanese Kerria Care

Japanese Kerria care is not complicated. Basically, just water Japanese Kerria regularly, but avoid watering. The plant is fairly drought-tolerant and doesn’t do well in soggy soil.

Prune Kerria Japanese rose after blooming to maintain a tidy appearance and promote blooms the following season. Seriously overgrown shrubs can be rejuvenated by cutting the plant to the ground, which improves blooming and creates a fuller, healthier plant.

Removing suckers regularly can keep the plant in check and prevent unwanted growth. However, its spreading nature makes Kerria Japanese rose useful for erosion control, naturalized areas and mass plantings, as the mounding growth habit is spectacular when the shrub is grown in drifts.

Is Kerria Japanese Rose Invasive?

Although Japanese rose plant is relatively well-behaved in most climates, it can become invasive in certain areas, particularly in the Eastern and Southeastern United States. If this is a concern, it’s always a good idea to check with your local Cooperative Extension office before planting.

Plant Database


  • hardy to zone 5
  • useful in zone 4 with snow cover
  • native to Japan and China

Habit and Form

  • a deciduous shrub
  • produces lots of fine, slender twigs
  • stems are upright and arching
  • suckers freely and can colonize areas
  • 3′ to 6′ tall with up to a 10′ spread

Summer Foliage

  • alternate, simple leaves
  • leaves are ovate to lance-shaped
  • leaf margins doubly serrate
  • 1.5″ to 4″ long
  • bright green color
  • crisp texture

Autumn Foliage

  • leaves hold late into fall
  • some clear yellow leaves, some leaves just drop green


  • showy bright yellow flowers
  • about 1.5″ across
  • 5-petaled
  • borne singly
  • blooms in late April and may
  • sporadic bloom after the primary blooming period can occur
  • in sun, the flowers fade to a bleached color


  • rarely sets fruit
  • not ornamentally significant


  • stems are shiny and smooth
  • color of stems is bright green
  • in winter, stems can turn yellow-green


  • partial shade to shade
  • in full sun the plant grows fine, but flowers bleach out
  • needs a well-drained moist, loamy soil of reasonable fertility
  • relatively easy to grow
  • avoid over-fertilizing as this promotes too much vegetative growth and reduced flowering
  • there is a need to remove dead shoots that inevitably become apparent
  • periodic rejuvenation by cuttings plants to the ground is beneficial

Landscape Use

  • good for shady locations
  • useful for yellow flowers
  • winter interest from green stems
  • shrub border
  • foundation plant
  • useful for colonizing habit
  • as a facer plant


  • twig kill in severe winters down to the snow line; limits flowering
  • leaf spot
  • twig blight
  • need to remove dead shoots regularly to rejuvenate

ID Features

  • smooth, uniformly green stems
  • buds are dark and contrast with the stem stems have a zigzag pattern of growth
  • yellow, solitary flowers
  • fine, twiggy, overaching habit


  • cuttings are easy
  • division


‘Golden Guinea’ – This selection is notable for the large flowers (to 2″ wide) that bloom for a long period.

‘Kin Kan’ (perhaps the same as ‘Aureovittata’) – The stems of this unusual form color up yellow in winter and bear thin green stripes. Other features are as per the species, and this cultivar frequently reverts.

‘Picta’ (probably the same as ‘Variegata’) – A rather demure variegated form, this leaves of this cultivar are edged with a thin white margin. It is a weaker grower (to 4′ tall) and benefits from a shaded position. The flower performance is also inferior to the species.

‘Pleniflora’ (also listed as ‘Flora Pleno’) – The most common form of this species in cultivation, this plant features double, ball-shaped blooms that are an orange-yellow hue. This cultivar appears to grow larger and more gangly than the species, to 8′ tall.

‘Shannon’ – This vigorous plant is becoming more common in specialty catalogs. It grows to 6′ tall and offers larger blooms that appear earlier than the species.

Japanese Kerria flowers

Japanese Kerria flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Japanese Kerria in bloom

Japanese Kerria in bloom

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height: 6 feet

Spread: 6 feet


Hardiness Zone: 4b


A colorful spring blooming shrub featuring bright golden flowers on thin, colorful stems and light green leaves; spreads by suckering to form a natural mass; use in groupings in partial shade in the garden, complemented by other plants

Ornamental Features

Japanese Kerria features showy yellow flowers along the branches from early to mid spring. It has light green foliage throughout the season. The narrow leaves turn lemon yellow in fall. The fruit is not ornamentally significant. The smooth bark and lime green branches add an interesting dimension to the landscape.

Landscape Attributes

Japanese Kerria is a dense multi-stemmed deciduous shrub with an upright spreading habit of growth. It lends an extremely fine and delicate texture to the landscape composition which can make it a great accent feature on this basis alone.

This is a high maintenance shrub that will require regular care and upkeep, and should only be pruned after flowering to avoid removing any of the current season’s flowers. Deer don’t particularly care for this plant and will usually leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Suckering

Japanese Kerria is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • General Garden Use

Planting & Growing

Japanese Kerria will grow to be about 6 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 6 feet. It tends to be a little leggy, with a typical clearance of 1 foot from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 40 years or more.

This shrub performs well in both full sun and full shade. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This species is not originally from North America.

Double-Flowering Japanese Kerria, Japanese Rose, Easter Rose, Yellow Rose of Texas ‘Pleniflora’

View this plant in a garden



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown – Tell us


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 °C (-40 °F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 °C (-35 °F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 °C (-30 °F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 °C (-25 °F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 °C (-20 °F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown – Tell us


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Gold (yellow-orange)

Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown – Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown – Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Blooms repeatedly

Other details:

Unknown – Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From softwood cuttings

By simple layering

Seed Collecting:

Unknown – Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Dothan, Alabama

Vincent, Alabama

Little Rock, Arkansas

Morrilton, Arkansas

Boulder Creek, California(2 reports)

Beacon Falls, Connecticut

Palm Coast, Florida

Atlanta, Georgia

Barnesville, Georgia

Canon, Georgia

Nicholls, Georgia

Stone Mountain, Georgia

Winder, Georgia

Godfrey, Illinois

Anderson, Indiana

Lexington, Kentucky

Morehead, Kentucky

Zachary, Louisiana

Orland, Maine

Aberdeen, Maryland

Cumberland, Maryland

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Halifax, Massachusetts

Mashpee, Massachusetts

Wayland, Massachusetts

Traverse City, Michigan

Olive Branch, Mississippi

Fenton, Missouri

Helena, Montana

Sparks, Nevada

Munsonville, New Hampshire

Newton, New Hampshire

Millville, New Jersey

Hurley, New York

Stony Brook, New York

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Flat Rock, North Carolina

Hayesville, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina(2 reports)

Wilsons Mills, North Carolina

Cincinnati, Ohio

Euclid, Ohio

Fort Jennings, Ohio

Haviland, Ohio

Middletown, Ohio

Enid, Oklahoma

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Ashland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Salem, Oregon(2 reports)

Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Foster, Rhode Island

Hope Valley, Rhode Island

Conway, South Carolina

Crossville, Tennessee

Elizabethton, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee

Woodlawn, Tennessee

Austin, Texas(2 reports)

Dallas, Texas

Tomball, Texas

Weatherford, Texas

Ogden, Utah

Disputanta, Virginia

Galax, Virginia

Leesburg, Virginia

Lexington, Virginia

Midlothian, Virginia

Norfolk, Virginia

Staunton, Virginia

Virginia Beach, Virginia

East Port Orchard, Washington

Kalama, Washington

Parkwood, Washington

Port Orchard, Washington

Seattle, Washington

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