In this article, we will discuss how to grow the wonderful, free-flowering shrub of Exochorda in containers. Exochordas are flowering shrubs in the Rosaceae (the Rose) family. Exochorda consists of 7 species and is natively found growing in China and Turkestan. It has been found that the species described are based on their appearance and where they grow, and have a common root from a single species. The single species that at one time was widely distributed throughout the world is known as Exochorda racemosa.
Exochordas are small to large, deciduous shrubs growing up to 4m high. The long leaves that are 1cm long are paddle-shaped to oval and are bluntly serrated. The arching branches are covered with masses of white, five-petal flowers that appear in late spring. As the flowers fade they produce a fruit consisting of five-fused carpels, which split to release their small seeds. It has the common name of pearl bush as the flowers look like pearls covering a bush. Exochorda is a slow-growing plant, making it an ideal shrub to grow in containers.
Find out how to grow the compact varieties of Exochorda in containers.
GROWING EXOCHORDA IN CONTAINERS
First, choose a large enough container for the shrub in question and make sure it has plenty of drainage holes. To this add a 2cm layer of gravel to aid drainage even further. To this add up to 5cm below the top rim with a good quality multipurpose compost.
Dig a hole at the centre of the container slightly bigger than the root ball it came in the original container it was bought in. Place the plant in the hole so that the top of the root ball is at the same level as the top surface of the compost. Backfill with the growing media, making sure that no gaps remain using more compost if you find it necessary. Firm the plant in and water well.
THE BEST GROWING CONDITIONS
Place your plant in a sheltered, relatively wind-free but sunny location. In summer to prevent moisture loss, you can mulch with woodchips and this will help.
Once the plant is well-established it will take drought pretty well, but it cannot manage without water for long periods. You will need to water frequently especially so in hot, dry weather. Water when 5cm below the top surface of the compost feels dry to the touch.
Exochordas are not a particularly hungry plant but they will need feeding once every spring with a general purpose, slow-release multipurpose fertilizer.
You will need to prune back stems of faded blooms in early summer to neaten the plant. The main pruning occurs in early spring when you can prune off dead wood and fragile, weak branches. Do not prune hard as this can affect future flowering.
Propagating is best via layering in spring and summer. Cuttings can be tried but the result is more luck than skill. To do this take softwood cuttings and place them in pots in a propagator. Alternatively, you can dig up and plant any root suckers.
PESTS AND DISEASES
Luckily the plants do not suffer from pests or diseases but occasionally caterpillars will attack the leaves. To deal with this, you can use a broad-spectrum, systemic insecticide at the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Another problem is that they may not bloom. This is caused by the lack of sunlight or pruning too early in the season. Do not cut back until it has finished flowering to avoid this mishap. Although it is a beautiful shrub the flowers are not long-lasting, so treat it as a shrub that will give a short time of beauty.
VARIETIES TO GROW
There are two main varieties and species to grow in containers. These are:
Exochorda x macrantha ‘The Bride’ is a weeping shrub growing to 2m high. It has a mass of white flowers covering the dark green leaves.
The other is Exochorda racemosa ‘Niagara’ which produces masses of white flowers, where it can grow up to 1.5m in height. More compact than the Bride.
In this article, we have discussed how to grow the pure white and beautiful shrub of Exochorda in containers. They are easy to grow, easy to care for and relative pest and disease free. They may not bloom if you do not give enough sun or you prune too early.
A plant that will be a star in anybody’s container garden.
If you have any questions or comments that you wish to make on growing Exochorda in containers, please do so in the comment box below.
Happy Exochorda growing.