Kolkwitzia amabilis - Beauty bush

Origin and Distribution

The beauty bush is native to the western China. Being a very robust shrub, the beauty bush feels comfortable in many different locations and can be found at mountainsides as well as on roadsides and diverse forests, mainly in heights between 300 and 1300 meters.

Description

In its youth the beauty bush is growing upright and very dense. When it gets older it gets wider and lighter. The long and down hanging branches resemble a waterfall. The beauty bush can reach a total height of 2 to 3 meters. The freshly grown shoots are bald and a bit harsh. Later the bark flakes off and turns into a white-grey coloration. The deciduous leaves are 3 to 7 cm long, ovate, tapered and mostly have shallow teeth.
The light pink coloured single flowers, yellow to orange on the inside, are bell-shaped.

The stalk and the calyx are bristly hairy. Because of its sweet scent many insects are attracted by the beauty bush. The flowering time starts at the end of May and stops end of June. Later in summer dark-brown coloured, bristly capsules develop from the shrub. Their shape reminds of roasted chickens.

The beauty bush prefers sunny to semi shady locations to grow and has no high claims to the soil. It can even grow in light alkaline soils. It is exceedingly resistant against frost and deals with special climate conditions in cities or next to industrial facilities. It can handle long and extreme periods of drought without any damages.

Interesting Facts

The beauty bush is an important food source for bees. Especially in summer the countless flowers of the beauty bush are a special glory.

Cutting back the bush in summer after blooming will generate more blossoms in the next year.

Garden Design

The beauty bush is a very popular plant in garden design. A dark background such as a wall makes the light coloured flowers even more magnificent. Even in half shaded places the blossoms do surprisingly well.  

The beauty bush can be used both as an attractive eye catcher next to terraces as well as a free growing hedge along the border.
It can be combined well with English dogwood, Deutzia, Weigela

or roses. Since the beauty bush blooms much earlier, it can be a nice precursor for the later and much darker blooming roses. Also the combination with contrastingly coloured or shaped perennials can be an option to draw attention to it.