Deutzia are beautiful, but underutilized deciduous shrubs that are native to Eastern and Central Asia. They are related to the Hydrangea, but won’t wilt in the summer heat as Hydrangeas are prone to do. There are several types of Deutzia available, and most produce a profusion of white or pink flowers in the spring through early summer. Deutzia will grow well in USDA Zones 5 to 8 and while they thrive in sunny locations, in the warmer parts of the country they will perform best with some afternoon shade.
These mound-forming shrubs have long, arching branches that give them a weeping or cascading appearance. They produce small flowers that grow in abundant clusters. However, Deutzia flowers can vary with the petals of some varieties presenting as open bell-shaped blooms while others are elongated and gently drooping. While they are often grown for their fragrant blossoms, which are white or pink, Deutzia also produces light-green leaves which will sometimes turn red in the fall. These shrubs can be interesting during the winter too, with some varieties having bark that peels back to reveal a reddish-orange color underneath.
There are typically two types of Deutzia available today. Fuzzy Deutzia is an upright shrub and was popular in American gardens in the mid-to-late 1800s. This variety of Deutzia grows 6 to 10 feet tall and will tolerate some shade. Some gardeners insist it can even bloom in full shade. Slender Deutzia is the more well-known variety and plants in this category of Deutzia are smaller, growing only 2 to 4 feet tall and wide. They can be used as a foundation planting or as an informal hedge.
Deutzia's care is generally simple. These plants are tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions and do not suffer from significant disease problems. The exception is that they can be damaged by excessive moisture in poorly drained soil or by drought. They are relatively insect pest free and deer resistant which is a real plus. Deutzia requires pruning every year to look its best. Similar to Lilacs and Azaleas, you should prune them immediately after they finish flowering. If you prune too late in the season, you run the risk of removing the developing flower buds that will produce next year’s blooms.
If you are in need of a tough, easy to grow shrub than Deutzia may be just for you.