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On Gardening: Fuzzy deutzia, a cascade of showy spring flowers

May 1, 2017

The fuzzy deutzia is an heirloom shrub in the hydrangea family.

A deutzia renaissance is how my friend Dr. Gerald Klingaman, retired horticulturist, with the University of Arkansas, wrote about this new love that is occurring for this fuzzy heirloom that has been around for ages. If you havenít discovered the old-fashioned fuzzy deutzia, then make it a high priority, your landscape deserves it.

At the Columbus Botanical Garden, Klingaman said they use it against a backdrop of bald cypress, cyrptomeria or Japanese cedar and the picturesque dawn redwood. The pendulous branches with what seemed like thousands of small white, lightly scented, star-shaped flowers created quite the picture.

At the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens, we are using two large specimens behind cold hardy palms and in partnership with heirloom crinum lilies. The look is cottage tropical and certainly pleasing to the eye. I did just that because another friend, Jason Powell, owner of Petals from the Past in Alabama, mentioned bees and butterflies in conjunction with this nostalgic plant. As I actually paused to sit on the nearby bench I did notice there were a variety of bees indeed visiting the top of our 9-foot bushes. That makes it a winner in my book.

Fuzzy deutzia is known botanically a Deutzia scabra and is native to Japan and China. I find most gardeners are surprised to find out it is in the Hydrandeaceae or hydrangea family where we find another heirloom the English dogwood or mock orange. It is deciduous which might be the reason it lost some of its luster for a generation or two. But today, gardeners recognize the beauty of a landscape, as the leaves fall you get to see the form and texture plants possess.

As I have hinted in mentioning our two 9-foot tall shrubs, you will need to give them space to be all they can be. They can reach 10 feet tall and spread 8 feet or more as well. They are in full bloom now in Savannah, Georgia and around May 10 in Columbus. With a wide range of hardiness from zones 5-8, there will be a fuzzy deutzia blooming somewhere in the United States from April through June.

They prefer fertile well-drained soil and bloom best in full sun. I can tell you that they perform very well in part sun in Savannah, as well. Maintenance is easy. This is a shrub that looks best when allowed to develop naturally. Always prune out dead wood but if you for some reason find the need to really prune, do so after spring flowering as it blooms on old wood. As the name suggest the leaves are rather rough and slightly hairy on both sides.

They are still sold generically at most garden centers but you may find the Pride of Rochester or a pink selection called Pink Minor and an even showier one called Strawberry Fields. I assure you no matter if you get white generic or a named selection, this shrub will be your spring extender or summer welcome. At the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens, we have fuzzy deutzia, oakleaf hydrangea, and Virginia sweetspire all blooming in sequence which could be partnered in your garden for the start of that magical white garden.

 

 


Associated Press