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May 2010

QuestionMy daughter and her husband were fishing from the bank of a lake and saw these vines growing nearby. Sure would like to know what they are. Thanks for any help you can give us.


AnswerThe plant in question is Kerria japonica pleniflora--the double flowered form of the Yellow Rose of Texas. This is one plant that will bloom in even the deepest shade. Commonly grown in the shade, the flowers fade fast in full sun. The doubled flowered form will bloom off and on all summer. It is deciduous, but the stems stay green all year. It can begin to spread a bit when it gets established, but it is a tough, old-fashioned shrub.      

March 2005

QuestionI am a novice gardener, and am trying to take care of a yard that is loaded with plants—not of my planting. What can you tell me about care and culture for the following: abelia, hydrangea, azaleas, and a yellow rose of Texas? I have them all and don’t know when to prune, how to prune, and what to fertilize with. Help! M. Smith, Hope.


AnswerLet’s start alphabetically. Abelia plants are old-fashioned shrubs that bloom pretty much all summer long, with small white bell shaped blossoms. They require very little care. If the plants are overgrown, or need pruning, you can still do it now. They bloom on the new growth. Azaleas have their flower buds set. These popular shrubs do best in a well drained, well amended site preferably protected from the hot, afternoon sun. Morning sun or filtered light is best. Prune as needed after bloom, and fertilize then as well with an azalea fertilizer. They will need supplemental watering throughout the summer, as will the hydrangeas. Hydrangeas are a little odd, in that they bloom in the summer, but set flower buds in the fall. If any pruning is needed, it needs to be done as soon after flowering as possible in the summer. They have multiple canes instead of a single trunk. Thin out some of the taller, older canes to reduce size. Fertilize as growth begins this spring, and again lightly after bloom. The yellow rose of Texas, is Kerria japonica, another old-fashioned spring bloomer. The double-flowered form is most common and can bloom several times a season. This plant can begin to spread out in time, sending up suckers which may need to be thinned. Prune as needed after the first flush of flowers in the spring—again thinning cuts down low, and possible sucker removal. Other than that, it too needs little care.


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