Shrub of the Month: 'The Bride' Pearlbush (Exochorda x marcrantha 'The Bride')

Posted: July 5, 2012

‘The Bride’ pearlbush has been around in the nursery industry for several decades, but it is not utilized as often as other spring flowering shrubs such as forsythia, azalea, spirea, and deutzia.
'The Bride' Exochorda x macrantha

'The Bride' Exochorda x macrantha

'The Bride' in Landscapes

Perhaps that is because its parents (Exochorda racemosa and Exochorda korolkowii) are larger shrubs (12-15 feet tall with a similar spread) that have fallen out of favor. Many landscapes today are better suited to smaller shrubs, where ‘The Bride’ would fit right in since it tops out at five feet tall.

The flower buds swell before opening, appearing as pearls on the stems.  Once open, the flowers smother the plant and remain attractive for a couple of weeks in May.  Although it has really no aesthetic features other than its prolific flower display (do forsythia, azalea, spirea, and deutzia offer anything else?), it can easily be incorporated into a shrub border with other spring flowering shrubs.  It could be used as a specimen plant, but it really shines in mass plantings.  In flower, it almost appears that the landscape received a late spring snow.

 'The Bride' fills out into a nicely rounded shrub with branches arching to the ground.  There is no need for facer plants since it doesn't get too leggy and the bowing branches cover the stems.  Flowering occurs best in full sun but will still perform in partial shade. It's a rugged plant that is not too picky on soil types but does prefer a slightly acidic soil that drains well.


Contact Information

  • Penn State Extension Horticulture Expert