May is really the month of the whites – from white wisteria to white irises and white clover to white dogwoods to the white snowbells of the Deutzia (pictured here), which goes by the name “unohana” in Japanese.
Quiz: Which month of the Japanese calendar is the flower associated with?
Answer: April (although these pictures were taken in May pehaps due to a late seeding ). The kanji character for April in the Japanese calendar “uzuki” meant “the month of the Deutzia or Unohana”.
There are about 60 species of Deutzia, mostly originating from Asia or Central Americas. Most are deciduous but a few are evergreen subtropicals. One of the most popular is Deutzia gracilis ‘Nikko’, which won the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Gold Medal Award in 1989. Deutzia scabra varietals are also very popular here because of the double flowers. They bloom profusely in the spring and are grown in pots a lot as well as small shrubs in gardens.
Deadheading is not necessary but Deutzia blooms on old wood, so prune right after the shrub is done flowering. Annual pruning will keep this shrub looking tidy and from looking leggy. Deutzia is not particularly vulnerable to any pests or diseases. Propagate Deutzia by layering or softwood cuttings.