How To Grow And Care For Slender Deutzia Gracilis

The deutzia gracilis [Dee-yute-zia, Gra-si-lis] is named after the man who discovered it, Deutzia Scholtanius and is a member of the hydrangea plant family (hydrangeaceae). 

Gracilis means “graceful” and refers to the slender stems of the plant. 

Flowering Slender Deutzia Gracilis

It is native to Japan and is now found in many regions including Central and East Asia, some parts of America and Europe.

The plant is characterized by a shrub with simple green leaves and showy small, white flowers.

The plant is also known by some other common names such as:

  • Slender deutzia
  • Nikko
  • Deutzia gracilis nikko

Deutzia Gracilis Care

Size & Growth

The deutzia gracilis has a slow growth rate and generally grows to a height of 1′ – 2′ feet and may spread over a region of 2′ – 5′ feet. 

The green leaves are around 1″ – 3″ inches long. 

As the stems grow, they start arching in different directions.

Flowering and Fragrance

At full bloom, the plant has tiny pure white flowers that are less than an inch big and have a mild, soft fragrance. 

These flowers grow in racemes (clusters). 

It also yields a small, copper-colored fruit-like capsule which is the same color as the arching stems of the plant.

It is a deciduous shrub and it sheds in the winter and starts sprouting new leaves and flowers in the spring and early summer. 

The plant starts blooming in late spring, any time between April-May.  

The bloom time is short and usually lasts 1-2 weeks.

Unlike many other deciduous plants, the Deutzia gracilis does not take on any fall color.

Light & Temperature

The deutzia gracilis requires 6 or more hours of direct sunlight but cannot constantly be kept in the full sun. 

It also needs partial shade daily for at least 2-6 hours.

The ideal USDA hardiness zone for growing deutzia gracilis is from 4-8.

Watering and Feeding

The plant should be watered regularly throughout the year to keep the roots healthy. 

If there is an extensive dry spell in the summers, water the deutzia twice a day. 

If you’re growing deutzia in a pot, the soil needs be watered as soon as it dries up.

Adding some mulch to the base of the plant will help keep your garden space free of weeds.

For ideal blooming, add a balanced fertilizer to the plant at the beginning of spring. 

As the plant grows older, it is better to apply fertilizer 2-3 times a year to ensure it continues to bloom properly.

Soil & Transplanting 

The Deutzia plant requires moist, well-drained soil and is pretty drought resistant. 

Although it may survive in different kinds of soil, it thrives in moist, humusy soil.

Spring is the best time to transplant deutzia gracilis if needed. 

The weather is cool, the soil is moist and the plant will grow quickly. 

Trim the plant before transplanting and dig deep because the more roots you get, the better the shrub will grow in its new location.

Grooming and Maintenance

The plant itself is not too high maintenance but it does require regular pruning. 

The dead branches must be pruned once a year, and the shrubs must be pruned immediately after flowering in spring.

How To Propagate Slender Deutzia

Deutzia may be propagated by using the softwood cuttings obtained from semi-hardened sprigs. 

Here’s how to go about the process:

  • At the end of summer, collect deutzia stems around 6″ inches long.
  • Remove all the leaves except the top 1-2 rows.
  • Plant the cuttings in a cutting soil mix which contains a mixture of river sand.
  • Ensure the soil mix remains moist.
  • Prepare the cuttings for the winter season by keeping them in a space at a temperature of 40° degrees Fahrenheit (4° C).
  • In spring, transplant these cuttings into large nursery pots.
  • By fall, plant these cuttings directly into the soil.

Slender Deutzia Pest or Disease Problems 

The deutzia gracilis doesn’t face any serious threats from insects or diseases. 

It is slightly susceptible to leaf spot and may occasionally attract insects such as leaf miners and aphids. 

The plant is quite resilient and is deer resistant.

Is This Plant Toxic or Poisonous?

The deutzia gracilis is safe to grow in your home garden and is not toxic for people or animals.

Is This Plant Invasive?

The deutzia gracilis has a tendency to be a little invasive and spread out, but will not cause problems as long as you prune your shrubs regularly.

Suggested Deutzia Gracilis Uses

The deutzia gracilis has several landscape uses, for instance, this plant type may be used to create a shrub border in your home garden and also to add some texture and foliage. 

It provides ground cover and can fill up empty patches in your garden.

Although this plant type doesn’t have many functional uses, it is visually very attractive and lasts for years.

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