Beauty Bush

Called the “Beauty Bush” or Kolkwitzia amabilis, it has long arching sprays with these lovely speckled throated flowers in many clusters along the branches in the late spring. The Japanese call it utsugi which is the generic name they give to weigelas or weigela-like shrubs.

First discovered in central China, Hubei province. There are near-identical species growing in the Shirakami beechforest in Japan, one called the ugoku-bane-utsugi has identical flowers and leaves but yellow streaks and without the pink tint of the Beauty Bush flowers.

A woody flowering plant with graceful arching branches in the honeysuckle family.  To propagate, take greenwood cuttings or suckers in late spring.

In the garden, the shrub needs plenty of room to develop its long, arching sprays, reducing the temptation to club it back, which results in an unnatural “witches’ broom”. Occasionally older stems thicker than a broomstick should be removed at the base when the shrub is dormant, to encourage young, free-flowering growth.

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