Kirengeshoma, commonly called Yellow Wax Bells, is a valuable addition to the shade garden for many reasons. Most notably, it offers flowers late in the growing season. One of the challenges of gardening in the shade is finding perennials that bloom late in the season. Producing a flower demands tremendous energy, and plants obtain their energy from the sun. This is the reason that we see a plethora of spring-blooming woodland perennials. Spring-blooming perennials have adapted to flower before the trees leaf out, at a time of year when there is sunlight in the deciduous forest. Finding summer and fall-blooming plants for the shade garden is more challenging.
Starting in late summer and continuing through fall, Kirengeshoma produces large, pendant, waxy yellow buds that open to hanging yellow bells. While the flowers aren’t exceedingly showy, we find them elegant and subtly beautiful.
In addition to late bloom, Kirengeshoma provides structural interest throughout the growing season. It grows to shrub-like proportions, reaching 3’-4’ in height and width. Its large attractive foliage resembles maple leaves and it branches to the ground, forming an eye-catching mound. It is an exceptional companion plant for other shade foliage plants such as hosta and ferns, offering contrasting texture and form.
Kirengeshoma prefers humus rich, moist soil. Ideal light conditions are dappled or morning sun, but it will grow even in full shade. Deer and rabbits tend to avoid Yellow Waxbells and it has no serious insect or disease problems, although slugs may occasionally damage the foliage. Iron Phosphate and Diatomaceous Earth (DE) are two effective, organic options for slug control.