Stachyurus praecox

Plant of the month: March

A striking deciduous shrub with arching habit, flowing with beautiful bell shaped, pale yellow flowers borne on catkin like spikes (known as racemes), that appear on bear shoots before the leaves emerge.  It is the first Stachyurus to bloom from late winter to early spring.  Fully hardy, preferring moist, well drained, humus rich soil in full sun or partial shade.  Minimal pruning is required to keep a more natural shape, remove any crossing shoots to maintain a good framework and remove flowered shoots after flowering.  They can be fan trained, with strong growth selected and tied in after flowering and the framework may be replaced on a regular basis from young growth at its base.  A very adaptable plant that is suitable for a shrub border, in a woodland garden or growing against a wall.  Stachyurus praecox is great alternative to Kerria (batchelor’s buttons) or Forsythia for an early yellow flowering shrub.