Exochorda serratifolia 'Northern Pearls'
Common Name: pearlbush 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Rosaceae
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 6.00 to 8.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 8.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Drought


Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to light shade. Prefers moist, acidic, rich loams in positions sheltered from wind. Best in cool temperate climates. Flowers bloom on old growth, so prune as needed immediately after flowering. Apply a slow-release fertilizer in spring.

'Northern Pearls' is noted for its excellent winter hardiness. May be pruned as a small single-trunk tree.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Exochorda serratifolia, commonly called pearlbush, is an upright, outward-spreading, thinly-branched, spirea-like deciduous shrub of the rose family that typically matures to 6-8' tall with a slightly wider spread. It is native to open woodlands, slopes and stream banks in northeastern China and Korea. Pearl-like buds (hence the common name of pearlbush) open in early spring (April-May) to an attractive bloom of star-shaped, 5-petaled, white flowers (to 1.5" wide) arranged in terminal racemes. Elliptic green leaves (to 3" long) have marginal teeth from the middle of each leaf to the apex. Leaves turn yellow in fall.

Genus name comes from the Greek words exo meaning outside and chorde meaning a cord referring to fibers outside the placenta in the ovary.

Specific epithet means leaves with a saw-tooth margin.

'Northern Pearls' is a compact cultivar that grows to 6-8' tall and features racemes (3-5" long) of 5-petaled white flowers (to 2" diameter) which bloom in early spring. Flower buds purportedly resemble white pearls, hence the cultivar name. 'Northern Pearls' is an introduction of the University of Minnesota.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Cottage gardens. Shrub borders. Hedge.