Chaenomales speciosa ‘Nivalis’

Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Nivalis’, Queen Mary's Gardens, 11 February 2021
Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Nivalis’, Queen Mary’s Gardens, 11 February 2021

Vigorous spreading deciduous shrub growing to 2.5m x 3m and producing bright white flowers on bare stems in winter. The tangled spiny branches can look a little haphazard if left to their own devices as a free-standing shrub; training against a wall can be a neat option. Origin: China.

H x S: 2.5m x 3m

Aspect and soil: very tolerant of a variety of soils but best in moderately fertile well-drained soil in full sun, and can cope with part shade.

Use: looks great against a wall, where its unruly stems can be trained tidily and its early flowers enjoyed to the full, and underplanted with evergreen grasses and winter-flowering bulbs. Very good too in shrubbery, as in the Chester Gate path in Queen Mary’s Gardens, alongside Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Tom Thumb’ and Callicarpa’s metallic purple berries.

Cultivation: Prune side shoots after flowering to 5-6 buds. On established shrubs, cut back side shoots and excess growth to two or three leaves.

Wildlife: a boon for insects in late winter.

Hazard: —

Hardiness: H6