Kerria japonica 'Picta'
Common Name: Japanese kerria 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Rosaceae
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Heavy Shade, Clay Soil, Dry Soil, Wet Soil


Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade. Tolerates full shade. Flowers pale in too much sun. Prefers loamy soils that are moderately fertile. Avoid heavy clay soils. Blooms on previous year’s wood, so prune in spring after flowering. Suckering habit can be a problem, and unwanted suckers should be promptly removed. If necessary, plants may be renovated by cutting stems to the ground.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Kerria japonica, commonly called Japanese kerria or Japanese rose, is a tough-but-graceful, spring-flowering, deciduous shrub that is native to certain mountainous areas of China and Japan. It typically grows to 3-6’ tall and to 6-8’ wide on slender, arching, yellowish-green stems that remain an attractive green in winter. Single, five-petaled, rose-like, yellow flowers (to 1 1/2” diameter) bloom somewhat profusely in spring. Double-toothed, narrow, ovate-lanceolate, bright green leaves (to 4” long) turn yellow in fall.

Genus name honors William Kerr (d. 1814), Kew gardener and collector, who collected in China, Java and the Philippines.

Specific epithet means of Japan.

Plants in the genus Kerria are sometimes also commonly called Easter rose because the flowers typically bloom around Easter time and resemble roses.

'Picta' is a low-growing, broadly rounded, slowly spreading cultivar with a dense, twiggy habit which typically grows 2' tall by 2' wide in 5 years. Features profuse, yellow, five-petaled, rose-like flowers (1.75" diameter) in April to early May and toothed, narrow, somewhat triangular, grayish green leaves edged with white.


No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to leaf spots, cankers, blights and root rot.


Mass in the shrub border. Foliage makes for interesting specimen in partially shaded areas of the rock garden or border. Incorporate into foundation plantings