Deutzia’s appeal lies in its long and graceful arching branches which give a weeping or cascading effect. Further interest is provided by the many differences between the flowers of its multiple varieties; the petals of some are long and drooping, some are bell-shaped or resemble pom-poms, some are delicate and starlike.
Deutzias are so beautiful in spring when the whole plant can be covered in flowers with hardly a leaf visible. Although the flowers, which range from white to pink to crimson, last for only a few weeks, their light green leaves generally deciduous, some have red leaves in autumn or bark that peels off to reveal dark orange stems for a lovely winter feature.
These hardy shrubs will grow in any soil although poor drainage or drought can cause damage. To keep them looking good it is essential to prune them immediately after flowering or they will grow woody and tall. As they flower on second year growth there is a risk of removing next year’s flower buds if they are pruned late. Each stem that has faded flowers on it should be cut back, leaving about two-thirds of the stem on the shrub.
Slender deutzia (grazilis) is a popular species, growing to 0.5 to 1.2 metres tall and wide. It can develop roots where cascading branches reach the soil and, therefore, spread. Nikko is a small variety that is perfect for small gardens, its brilliant white flowers looking lovely in the evening. Chardonnay Pearls has the most stunning buds. Before the flowers open, the picture that is created is of bubbles on the side of a flute of sparkling wine. It has golden foliage that looks good in autumn. Magicien has starry pink and white flowers.
Fuzzy deutzia (scabra) usually has masses of small white, sometimes double flowers. It can grow up to 3 metres tall and will tolerate shade. Codsall Pink is a tall specimen producing large clusters of honey-scented double white flowers but with pink on the outer petals.
There are many hybrids that have rose pink flowers, often with deeper tints, for example, Mont Rose. Contraste has larger flowers with a deep purple mark on each petal. Joconda has pale pink flowers, Strawberry Fields has flowers in crimson and pale pink and Pink-A-Boo has clusters of beautiful pink flowers.
An open, sunny site, protected from icy winds and not north-facing, is best for deutzias. The pink-flowered varieties retain their colour for longer when given dappled shade from trees. While the natural site for deutzias is in a mixed shrub border, they should be given space to develop naturally.
Jobs for April & May
- Start feeding your roses regularly from the beginning of April when the pruning should have been completed.
- Cut back penstemons, just above fresh, new shoots.
- Prune honeysuckle, jasmine and early flowering clematis to repair winter damage or to improve the shape.
- From late April plant summer-flowering bulbs, brodiaea, eucomis, galtonia, sparaxis, tigridia and tritonia.
- Plant ground cover and edging plants such as aubrietia, violas, hardy geraniums, dwarf lavender, rosemary, sage or thyme.
- In early May, plant begonias, canna, crocosmia, dahlias, gladiolus, lilies and nerine for summer flowering.
- Prune choisya, prunus, ceanothus and mahonia.
- Prune forsythia and flowering currant after flowering by cutting out a third of the oldest shoots and trimming the flowered tips.
- Plant perennials such as phlox, delphiniums, euphorbias, helianthus and sedum.
- At the end of May plant out your summer bedding plants, fuchsias, geraniums, petunias, begonias and lobelia in tubs, troughs, borders and baskets.