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Kolkwitzia Amabilis: How to Grow and Care for the Beauty Bush

Perfect for a spring flowering shrub, Kolkwitzia Amabilis is indeed a Beauty Bush. Find a sunny location and watch the magic of this plant.


Kolkwitzia Amabilis (Beauty Bush) pink cloud

A magnificent specimen plant that will showcase your landscape with it's dainty pinkish flowers and arching branches.

Being a member of the honeysuckle family this flowering shrub will reproduce from suckering which can be easily controlled by removing them.

It will thrive in full sun and grows very quickly (about 24” per year) to 6’ tall and wide but some have been known to get up to about 10’ tall.

The tiny white and pink flowers hanging on arching branches makes this a great addition to any landscape.


My experience with the Kolkwitzia Amabilis 

I have the beauty bush growing beside my driveway. It only gets part sun (about 4 or 5 hours) and it’s growing in a dry garden but it gets loaded with flowers in spring. 

Because it doesn’t get enough sun and is growing in dry soil, it has only reached about 3’ tall.

It’s a beautiful plant when it’s in bloom.


How to Grow in Containers 

With the size of this plant getting so large, it’s best growing the beauty bush in the ground. However, if you want to keep it pruned to a smaller size it can be grown in a container.

I recently read an article where this flowering shrub was grown as a bonsai plant. Because of the unique shape this plant can have, it makes a perfect specimen for a bonsai.

If you are growing it on your deck or patio, it’s best to plant it in the ground in late fall to over winter it. The winter winds will dry it out fast when it’s in a pot. 

Come early spring you can dig it up and place it back in the pot to be set out again on your deck or patio.

Being in the pot will dry it out faster than being in the ground so it will need to be watered more frequently than if it was in the ground.


How to Prune the Kolkwitzia Amabilis

Pruning should be done right after the plant has flowered.

It blooms on old wood so any pruning done in fall or winter will remove flowers for next year.

When pruning the Kolkwitzia Amabilis never take off more than 1/3 of the plants size. 

Pruning for size and shape is recommended to help the plant thrive. Remove any dead or diseased stems and any that have been nibbled on by rabbits. 

Also remove about 1/3 of the oldest growth from the center of the plant right back to ground level. This will open the plant up for air circulation and help prevent diseases.

You can do a hard pruning during winter if you think the plant isn’t flowering as it use to when you first planted it. Cut it back to about a foot off the ground. This will encourage new growth and plenty of flowers in years to come. 

It will take a few years for the plant to reach its full size again but it will be worth it to see all the flowers it will produce.


Varieties

Pink Cloud Beauty Bush (Kolkwitzia amabilis 'Pink Cloud')

Pink Cloud Beauty Bush (Kolkwitzia amabilis 'Pink Cloud')

growing 6-10’ tall and wide, this spring bloomer will get loaded with pinkish white flowers from April until June.

It’s a low maintenance plant that only needs a little care and will grow in just about any soil type.

And the deer don’t particularly like it.

Beauty Bush

$6.97



Pest and Diseases

Although the beauty bush is pretty much pest and disease free there are a couple of things to watch for. They are deer resistant but might get nibbled on by rabbits. 

Here are a couple things to watch for:


Pests

Aphids – these sap sucking insects do a lot of damage to a plant. They come in masses and if not controlled they will kill the plant. Read how to control Aphids here.


Disease

Bacterial leaf spot – This bacterium will over winter in leaf debris so it’s important to clean up around the plant in fall.  It starts out as small brown to yellowish circles on the top of the leaves and a small bump on the bottom of leaves. 

To control this disease remove any infected leaves and debris from around the plant.


Botrytis cinerea (Gray Mold) – Botrytis lives on dead plant debris. It’s important to clean up the ground around plants to keep them disease free.

It will spread from the debris lying on the ground to plants nearby and continue to grow. It will overwinter on both live plants and the debris on the ground. 

The only way to deal with this disease is to deal with the environment around the plants. Don’t let your plants get stressed. Over watering or under watering the plants can cause stress. 

Avoid overhead watering. If you need to water your plants try watering the soil around them. This is the same for all plants as this disease affects pretty much all plants.


Propagating

Stem Cutting – You can propagate the Kolkwitzia Amabilis from stem cuttings. Cut the stem about 4” long and remove the lower branches. Stick the cutting in a few inches of soil and keep watered. If you want to know more about growing the beauty bush from cuttings, click here.


Suckers – This plant will also reproduce from suckers it gives off from the roots. If you see more plants growing from the soil around the plant, you can dig them up and plant them in another location or give them to friends or family.


How to Force the Flowers

If you want to add some spring time flowers during late winter try cutting a few branches of the Kolkwitzia Amabilis around the end of February. 

Bring them inside and place them in a vase of water. In a few weeks you will see them leaf out and get flowers.

This is a great way to brighten up your home and add colour and the smell of flowers.


Landscape Uses

There are many ways to use the Kolkwitzia Amabilis in the landscape. Here are a few ways:

  • stand alone specimen
  • as a hedge along a fence or along the house
  • grow it in a large container on your deck or patio
  • as a screen to block out unsightly scenes
  • you can even cut the flowers and bring the fragrance indoors
  • plant at the corner of your house
  • along a fence or deck
  • plant a few of them along a wall to break it up
  • attracts hummingbirds and pollinators
  • as a focal point in the middle of your yard
  • foundation plants

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