Kerria Japonica - divide and transplant

tulipsmiles(6 South of Boston)March 7, 2010

I have a large Kerria that is outgrowing it's location. I don't know exactly what kind it is, as it was here when we bought the house 3 years ago.

It is approx. 8ft wide and 5ft tall. I definitely need to move this somewhere else. It seems to have suckers growing out from all sides and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

I plan to divide it up into 6 or 8 smaller plants and make a border along the shaded perimeter of my yard, to serve as a privacy fence.

It is quite early in the season here and the plant seems to still be dormant. Will I kill it if I move it now? My ground is not frozen, I don't want to hurt this plant, but must move it to a place where it can grow as big as it wants to.

Any feedback or guidance is welcomed!!



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Basically you could move and divide kerria at any time of the year, though if you do that in a middle of the summer you will be obligated to water it.
If you'll transplant and divide it now your rate of success should be close to 100%.
Go ahead!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 10:47PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

splain this lucy ...

how would you HURT??? a highly aggressive groundcover-like plant that is eating up a given space ...

i dont think so ... lol ...

so go for it ... right now.. ASAP ...

now.. that said. ... and i will yell ....




BUT ... clearing away all that.. you have a problem plant.. that you are thinking about creating more problems with ... TRUST ME ... been there.. done that.. and it took a whole lot of work a few years later.. to get rid of the problem i created ...

think long and hard about all that.. and good luck with whatever you decide ...


    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 8:47AM
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Ken, kerria is a very useful plant for a shady location - one that seems to flower well regardless of light conditions and will tolerate quite dry soils. And it sounds like the OP has a good location to which to move this and its divisions. That this can or should be considered a "problem" plant is just speculation on your part - it may be that it was just not well thought out with its original placement.

FWIW, kerria is a caning shrub - one of the primary reasons it is amenable to any kind of division (most woody shrubs are not) but that also means it will expand in place. And it is containable or able to be restricted to a more limited placement - just sever any suckering shoots and remove if they spread too aggressively or expand too much.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 1:14PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5


she said::

I have a large Kerria that is outgrowing it's location.


that by my definition.. is one problem ...

if it outgrew one area .. it has the potential to outgrow the other area ... that is another problem ....

how many problems does she need???

all i asked is for tulip to think about it ... eh???

it was not.. as you suggested speculation [you said:That this can or should be considered a "problem" plant is just speculation on your part]

i like kerria.. i have it.. in full blistering sun on pure sand ... in 10 years it is about 1.5 feet tall .. and 2 foot wide... it is struggling... but i like it ...

i had a neighbor, years ago.. where it ended up covering about a quarter acre ... at some point it becomes a problem.. not a hard one to fix ... since it is so shallow rooted ... but a problem ...

so i suggested she think about the entirety of what she is contemplating ...

as i said.. whatever decision that is made.. is fine an dandy with me ...


    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 4:27PM
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C'mon, Ken, what are you talking about?
"...highly aggressive groundcover-like plant that is eating up a given space"
Don't think so.
Kerria is not an evil-shrub. As a most of the plants, it could be a right plant for the right place and a quite opposite as well. There are many plants around that could become a pests if left unchecked and kerria, thanks G-d, is not on a top of that list.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 10:12PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

After many years of trying to contain a Kerria that was easily 15 ft wide and still going--the most exhausting work of the spring--I had someone come in with a small back hoe and remove it entirely. It's an unbelievably difficult plant to dig out.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 6:30AM
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I've been reading these posts with interest, because kerria is a shrub I'm considering for a spot where I want a privacy screen. This is a south-facing but shady (under high-limbed oaks) spot in my zone 5 yard. It's also at the edge of a stone retaining wall. Would a somewhat aggressive caning shrub be a mistake near a wall like that--would the expanding roots and canes break down the wall?

If so, anyone have other suggestions? I want something that will grow fairly tall fairly quickly. I was considering a clumping bamboo, perhaps fargesia rufa, but I'm not sure it would be dense enough near the bottom to be a good screen.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 2:20PM
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Lovesummer-I love Kerria. The blooms are beautiful and I found it quite easy to maintain even after it hadn't been maintained in quite a few years. The shoots come up individually from the ground, and you can just cut them back as they shoot up. They don't spread far from the main bunch so its really not a big deal. The plant can also appear much taller if you tie the stalks together up a few feet so the branches don't bend over and reach the ground, and it makes it easier to see the new shoots. I only had to clip the new shoots once or twice a year. It does fantastic in the shade under oaks.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 6:52AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

kerria is a wonderful plant.. in a PROPER setting ...

all i intended to point out.. to the OP ... was the POTENTIAL to spread beyond the plan ...

if you like it.. as i say.. if it makes your toes curl ... then get it.. enjoy it..

and when it starts to irritate you.. get rid of it.. if need be ... admit your mistake.. to be forewarned.. is to be 4 armed ... eh ...


    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 8:46AM
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Send the Kerria to me... I have tried to plant this 3 separate times, and they all died. They got some strange black/brown spots and passed away after a year or two in place. Tried shade, part sun... no luck. Trying one last time this year.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 8:03AM
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blossom123(Zone 5)

Hi tulipsmiles,

I am planning to plant kerria japonica on the north foundation shady side of my house. Did you succesfully divide your kerria and do you have some divisions that you can share with me ? BTW, is your single flowered or double flowered ?

Let me know.

Thanks !

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 12:10PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

Almost ever Kerria plant I've seen has outgrown it's bounds and invading neighboring plants. BTW, is you neighbor on the other side of the hedge going to enjoy cutting back the suckers? I'm zone 8, Boston is colder, but not that much when it comes to Kerria, so the spread might not be as fast where you live.
Somehow I don't see it as a hedge anywhere. I wouldn't plant it in my garden. The unsightly tip dieback rules it out right off the start. I do enjoy the other gardens.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 9:48PM
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Dan Staley

What ken said. If you don't have lots of room and a proper setting, then set aside a lot of time to maintain. Srsly. They are nice until you get sick of them.


    Bookmark   April 24, 2010 at 12:50AM
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Hi, all.

Just want to add my 2 cents worth:

I love Kerria!
My mother gave me a start about 25 years ago, and I have it in 2 places in my yard--one on the south side of my house, and one on in my patio next to a fence, on the north side of my house. I have never had a problem with it spreading too much. I have given it away, of course, to keep it within bounds, but it's always been so easy to dig, there's no problem there. It is one of my favorite plants. Check out White Garden Farms website--$36.95 per plant.
I have the double, Kerria Japonica Pleniflora. Everyone who sees it in bloom wants it. Just cut back the old canes if you don't want the brown. New blooms grow on new canes.
As with any suckering plant, I'd guess that the zone you're in makes a difference. Some plants that spread slowly in zone 5 -- for instance, my Paulownia Tomentosa, which, yes, I also love, have gone crazy in places like Florida. It spreads via seeds, of course, but the principle is the same.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 12:25PM
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Dear wantmoreplants 5,
Although White Flower Farms publishes a beautiful print catalog and has a good reputation, its plants are grossly overpriced. Are you serious in recommending that a person should spend a shockingly high $36.95 on _Kerria japonica_, lovely though definitely not rare, when it can be purchased for a fraction of that amount from many other sources? If so, you must have money to burn or a vested interest in White Flower Farms.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 10:02AM
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