An elegant shrub with graceful arching branches, that produce an abundance of pretty flowers in spring and summer. It may look delicate but it's a tough hardy shrub, that it easy to grow, and thrives well in any free draining soil, including chalk.

Family: Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle family)
Botanical Name: Kolkwitzia (kol-kwitz-ee-a)
Common Names: Beauty bush

Foliage: Deciduous. Arching stems of ovate, dull green, slightly toothed, leaves with lighter underside. Attractive peeling brown branches in autumn and winter.

Flowers: Clusters of dainty bell-shaped, flowers. In shades of soft pink to white, usually with a spotted yellow throat.

Flowering Period: May and June.

Soil: Any moist but well-drained garden soil (chalk, clay, sand or loam). Any pH.

Conditions: Full sun or partial shade. Can be grown in any aspect, in a sheltered or exposed location.

Habit: Bushy, suckering.

Type: Shrub.

Origin: China.

Hardiness: Hardy in most regions of the UK. Young shoots can be damaged by very cold weather.

Planting and Growing Kolkwitzia

Grow in an open sunny position in any good, well drained, fertile soil. Ideal for chalky soils. Dislikes waterlogged conditions.

Plant out during mild weather, in late autumn or early spring. Container grown plants can be planted out at any reasonable time of year.

Ideal as a specimen plant or as a part of mixed a shrubbery. Although, in can quickly become too large for a small border.

Taking Care of Kolkwitzia

Water thoroughly during dry weather until well established. Mulch with organic matter in spring and apply a general fertilizer suitable for shrubs.

Pruning Kolkwitzia

Prune annually after flowering by cutting back any spent flowering stems and removing any damaged and straggly stems down to ground level.

Pests and Diseases

Generally pest and disease free.

Propagating Kolkwitzia

Take softwood cuttings in early summer or heel cuttings in late summer. Overwinter cuttings in a cold frame and plant outside the following spring.

Can also be increased by removing rooted suckers in autumn.

Popular Varieties of Kolkwitzia

Kolkwitzia is monotypic genus of one species K. amabilis; a large bush that quickly reaches 10ft (3m) or more.

Kolkwitzia amabilis forms a dense bush with drooping branches of dark green leaves, covered by dainty pink flowers in late spring. Stems have attractive peeling bark in winter. Height up to 12ft (3.6m), spread to 10ft (3m). Good cultivars include: 'Rosea' and 'Pink Cloud' with deep pink flowers; developed by the RHS at Wisley.