Right around the start of summer the fuzzy deutzia makes a spectacle of itself with huge clusters of brilliant white blossoms.
Description Deutzia scabra is an upright, multi-branched deciduous shrub with arching branches. The plant can get 10 ft (3 m) high and spread 6 ft (2 m) across, but most are closer to half that size. On the main trunk and larger stems, orange-brown bark exfoliates and hangs in large flakes. Fuzzy deutzia has dark green, oval leaves to 3 in (8 cm) in length. The leaves are arranged opposite each other along the stems and have a rough sandpapery or scabrous texture, unlike the smoother leaves of the similar slender deutzia (D. gracilis).
For two weeks in early summer, fuzzy deutzia is literally smothered with bright white flowers. The individual flowers, which measure a little less than an inch (2.5 cm) across, are star shaped and borne in erect cylindrical clusters 3-6 in (8-15 cm) tall. The flowers typically have five petals but may be double, and have a distinctly honey-like fragrance.
The cultivar, ‘Variegata’ has leaves speckled with white; 'Rosea' has rose colored flowers; 'Pink Minor' has pink flowers and a dwarf growth habit, staying less than 3' (1 m) in height; ‘Pride of Rochester’, perhaps the most common cultivar, has double flowers that have pink edges on the their petals.
Location Deutzia scabra is native to Japan. It has escaped cultivation and become established in most states in the northeastern U.S., and in parts of Alabama and North Florida.
Culture Light: Deutzia grows best in full sun. Moisture: All the deutzias seem to thrive in any well drained soil. Established plants need little supplemental watering. Hardiness: USDA Zones 4-8. Propagation: Propagate fuzzy deutzia from soft wood cuttings, which are quite easy to root. Fresh seeds will germinate readily and do not need a dormancy period.
Fuzzy deutzia blooms best when planted in bright sunny situations like this beautiful clump at the Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Fuzzy deutzia grows in a graceful, loose broad mound that adds a pleasing coarse texture to mixed shrub borders. For a couple weeks in early summer they make a spectacular bright white mound. On older wood, the orange colored bark, shredding and shedding, is attractive in winter. Plants may need regular pruning to keep them from getting too leggy and looking unkempt.
Features Deutzia scabra is said to have stellate pubescent leaves. If you examine the trichomes (hairs) on the leaves with a 10X lens you will see that each trichome ends in radiating (starlike) branches. This type of pubescence usually renders a scabrous or sandpapery texture to the leaf surface and can often be an important diagnostic tool for species identification.
There are about 40 species in the genus Deutzia which some authorities place in the family Hydrangeaceae. All are shrubs; most occur in Asia but a few are found in the mountains of Central America.
D. scabra figures in the parentage of several hybrid deutzias in the horticultural trade. The aptly named showy deutzia (D. x magnifica) is the result of a cross between D. scabra and another Japanese species, D. vilmoriniae. D. x candelabrum resulted from a cross with slender deutzia (D. gracilis).