Shrubby cinquefoil

Flowers of shrubby cinquefoil.

Shrubby cinquefoil is a dense, bushy shrub with upright, slender branches. The species produces bright yellow flowers for most of the growing season. Cultivars come in wide range of flower colors. An excellent choice for hot, dry sites.    

This species is native to the Chicago Region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.  

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.

 

Botanical name:

Potentilla fruticosa

All Common Names:

Shrubby cinquefoil, bush cinquefoil, potentilla

Family (English):

Rose

Family (Botanic):

Rosaceae

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub

Foliage:

  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Chicago area,
  • Illinois,
  • North America

Landscape Uses:

  • Foundation,
  • Hedge,
  • Massing,
  • Mixed border

Size Range:

  • Small shrub (3-5 feet),
  • Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 2,
  • Zone 3,
  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6

Soil Preference:

  • Dry soil,
  • Moist, well-drained soil

Tolerances:

  • Dry sites,
  • Occasional drought,
  • Alkaline soil,
  • Clay soil,
  • Road salt

Ornamental Interest:

  • Summer blossoms

Season of Interest:

  • Early summer,
  • Mid summer,
  • Late summer,
  • Early fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Orange,
  • Pink,
  • White,
  • Yellow

Shape or Form:

  • Mounded,
  • Multi-stemmed,
  • Round

Growth Rate:

  • Moderate

More Information:

Size & Form

1 to 4 feet high and wide 
Rounded habit with fine texture stems.

Tree & Plant Care

Best in full sun and well drained soil. Not tolerant of wet sites.
Withstands poor soils, hot dry sites and high pH soils.
A fiborous root system makes transplanting easy. Slow growing.
Renewal prune by removing 1/3 of the oldest stems in late winter or early spring, or occasionally cut back all stems to the ground to rejuvenate.

Disease, pests, and problems

Spider mite can be troublesome in hot weather.
Does not tolerate permanently wet areas.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Hardy in the Midwest, withstands extreme cold temperatures
Tolerant of aerial salt spray

Native geographic location and habitat

C-Value: 10
Native across northern U.S. and Canada

Bark color and texture 

Thin, finely textured, stems with shredding bark

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Alternate; compound, pinnate leaves with 3 to 7 leaflets per leaf
Leaflets are elliptic and linear
Leaves emerge a soft grey-green and deepen to a medium to dark green mid summer

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Single, buttercup yellow flowers, about 1 to 11/2 inches in diameter
Long blooming period from  June until frost

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

A dry, brown achene, persist through winter

Cultivars and their differences 

This plant is a cultivar of a species that is native to the Chicago Region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research. Cultivars are plants produced in cultivation by selective breeding or via vegetative propagation from wild plants identified to have desirable traits."

Goldfinger Shrubby Potentilla (Potentilla fruticosa 'Goldfinger'): Compact, mounded habit reaching 3 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide.  Bright, 1 to 2 inch yellow blooms accented against dark green foliage.

Mango Tango Potentilla (Potentilla fruticosa 'UMan'): Tidy, compact rounded form 2 to 3 feet high and wide with mango-orange to red bicolor flowers from late spring to frost. Foliage is silvery-gray foliage.

McKay's White Potentilla (Potentilla fruitcosa 'McKay's White'): A small, mounded shrub 2 to 2 1/2 feet high and 2 to 3 feet wide. Creamy white flowers and soft green folage stand up to summer heat.

Pink Beauty Shrubby Potentilla (Potentilla fruticosa ‘Pink Beauty’):  A rounded dense shrub reaching 2 to 3 feet high and wide with attractive pink flowers and bright green foliage.

Location of Potentilla fruticosa (Shrubby cinquefoil) at the Arboretum