Kerria japonica ‘Picta’

Japanese kerria

  • © Pat Breen - Oregon State University

  • © Pat Breen - Oregon State University

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

This subtly variegated shrub is great for brightening a shady location. The thin white leaf edge surrounds a soft gray-green center providing color with out being garish. In early spring canary yellow flowers are speckled amongst the foliage. After the leaves drop in fall slender green twigs add cheer to the winter landscape.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: spreading shrub

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 4 ft. 0 in. (1.22 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 5 ft. 0 in. (1.52 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 6 ft. 0 in. (1.83 meters)

Plant Width-Mature: 7 ft. 0 in. (2.13 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 4 to 9

Flower Color: yellow

Sun/Light Exposure: light, open, dappled or deep shade

Water Requirements: drought tolerant, but appreciates occasional watering

Seasonal Interest: The variegated leaves steal the show from spring through early fall. In early spring yellow flowers dance among the thin stems.

Resistant to: aphids, rabbits, deer, slug, snail

Colors & Combos

Great Plant Combinations: Hosta ‘Patriot, Aucuba japonica ‘Serratifolia’, Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis, Acer tegmentosum, Asarum caudatum

Great Color Contrasts: bronze, dark green, purple

Great Color Partners: white, yellow

Culture Notes
Kerria prefers a rich well drained soil, but will tolerate sandy soils and clay. It will grow best from light to deep shade. In darker areas flowering will be sparse, but the foliage is great. Once established it will tolerate drought, but appreciates an occasional watering during dry weather. To keep this shrub looking tidy every few years the oldest twiggy branches should be cut to the ground, leaving the robust whips of new growth. Pruning is best in winter or early summer.