Common pearlbush is an old-fashioned, but not commonly used shrub. This attractive and fairly long-blooming shrub has small, round, pearl-like flower buds that open in sequence to pure white, five-petaled flowers. Foliage is medium green turning to a soft yellow fall color. Older bark peels off, similar to birch, adding winter interest.
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.
All Common Names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- Mixed border,
- Large shrub (more than 8 feet),
- Medium shrub (5-8 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8
- Alkaline soil
- Occasional drought
Season of Interest:
- Early spring,
- Mid spring
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
Size & form
An upright, multi-stemmed,10 to 12 feet tall shrub, often with fountain-like branching habit.
Tree & Plant Care
Best in full sun to part shade in well-drained soil.
Benefits with a light mulch to maintain moisture and moderate soil temperature.
Flowers on older wood, prune after flowering to maintain shape.
Disease, pests, and problems
Does not tolerate heavy wet soil.
Disease, pest, and problem resistance
Wind, occasional drought.
Native geographic location and habitat
Bark color and texture
Gray brown to orange-brown. Older stems exfoliate.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Alternate, elliptical, 1 to 3 inches long. Medium green changing to soft yellow in fall.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Clusters of 3 to 5 inch long, pearl-like buds open to 5-petaled pure white flowers in early spring.
Buds open sequentially, from bottom to tip extending bloom period for several weeks.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
A 5-valved, green, dehiscent capsule eventually turning brown for winter.
Cultivars and their differences
The Bride Pearlbush (Exochorda racemosa 'The Bride'): A compact, rounded shrub reaching 4 feet high and wide.