Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Yellow Wax Bells
Kirengeshoma palmata

Family: Hydrangeaceae (hy-drain-jee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Kirengeshoma (kir-en-geh-SHOW-muh) (Info)
Species: palmata (pahl-MAY-tuh) (Info)

6 vendors have this plant for sale.

15 members have or want this plant for trade.

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24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Partial to Full Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 30 photos.
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10 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive ms_greenjeans On Aug 27, 2013, ms_greenjeans from Hopkins, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

In my opinion, this plan is simply stunning and a shade garden must-have. That being said, in my Minnesota garden it either isn't as happy as I would like, or it just takes a long time to establish. I hope patience will be rewarded, because I'd absolutely love to have a nice big clump of this gorgeous plant.

Positive sadele On Oct 5, 2012, sadele from Sag Harbor, NY (Zone 7a) wrote:

Bought this in Iowa (Z4b/5a) about 7 years ago in a 3" pot, it survived 2 winters there; moved it to Long Island NY (z7a) where it's now about 4'x4', blooming more every year for a few weeks. A couple of blooms left as of Oct 5. It's growing with ferns, monkshood, hydrangea, tricyrtis, spiderwort. Deer have sampled it in the past but Liquid Fence keeps them away.

Positive lejardin24 On Sep 27, 2012, lejardin24 from Hermitage, PA wrote:

I love this plant. It grows beautifully in 2 different gardens, one in Western Pennsylvania near route 80, and also on the Southwestern coast of Nova Scotia next to a protected back bay. The first year it grew to 2 feet high and 2 feet wide. It is one of the few late summer-early fall bloomers in my gardens. The leaves resemble a shorter, stockier version of the oak-leaf hydrangea, and the flowers are sprays of a pale, buttery yellow which project out in front of the leaves. A nice contrast against the foliage. It is so different, that it catches any gardener's eye. I was suprised to find that it is in the Hydrangea family.

Positive greshamdadjohn On Apr 15, 2012, greshamdadjohn from Gresham, OR wrote:

The plant is about 15 years old and is in 3/4 shade and moist acid soil. When it reaches full summer growth it is about 5 by 4 feet in size. It was obtained at a garden sale at the Berry Botanic Garden in Portland, OR. I have never encountered any pest problems, but I do use slug-bait. I indroduce my friends to it as "the japanese aristocrat". Most of them say theve've never seen it before.

Positive Malus2006 On Oct 12, 2011, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

Seem to be solidly zone 4 hardy. Found out that they are very senstive to frosts and freezes - one year I had a unusually warm early spring and it came up earlier than usual then a late freeze hit it hard along with woodbine. Almost every other perennials just shrug off the freeze. Very late bloomer, here in Minnesota its blooming time is just barely before the average frost/freeze date.

Positive gardenlady123 On Sep 7, 2008, gardenlady123 from Plainwell, MI (Zone 5b) wrote:

Very nice color of yellow. Good to see some sunny color at the end when everything is starting to go dormant. Love the leaf shape and the swell of the flowers. Nice complimentary plant to the shady area. Want some more.

Positive Fledgeling On Jan 10, 2008, Fledgeling from Huron, SD wrote:

kirengeshoma palmata is native japan, where it is a rare plant. Easily cultivated in a moist, humus-rich, well drained soil in shade or part shade.
Bloom time is very unusual for a shade perennial, and it is worth including in any shade garden for this.

Positive snyderlm On Jan 19, 2006, snyderlm from Paoli, IN wrote:

Mine has been growing for 5 summers, and gets better year after year. It's a great large plant for a shade garden! It gets very little sun, but it performs without fail each year! It isn't a flashy plant, but it is very pretty, and the bloom season lasts for several weeks. It doesn't get much care where it is growing, but it doesn't seem to mind.

Positive Shadyfolks On Jun 3, 2005, Shadyfolks from Chesterland, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

I too love this plant, I have been growing it now for three years. I love watching the flower buds grow and swell up. My plant seems to do fine in a rather dry sandy location with only a little dappled sunlight. It's great for a woodland garden.

Positive paste592 On Jun 2, 2005, paste592 from Westminster, MD (Zone 6b) wrote:

What a beauty! I planted two last fall -- they were at the last of their bloom. One was k. palmata and the other, its open-belled cousin k. koreana The palmata was the less hardy-looking of the two, and I wouldn't have been that surprised to have lost it, but it's the other one that still hasn't come up. I don't think it's the fault of the plant -- a fellow MG had convinced me to mulch with thrice-chopped oak leaves, and I think I lost a lot of things to rot and suffocation.

The palmata is already quite tall and bushy and very healthy looking. Its foliage is a rather dullish green, but looks good against the flashy-foliaged plants I'm using with it -- pulmonaria in several varieties, hakonechloa, and aucuba to one side. I think I'll transplant some lamium in there as soon as I'm sure what's going to come up. Love this plant!

Neutral lego_brickster On Sep 11, 2004, lego_brickster from Lawrenceville, PA (Zone 5b) wrote:

This is my new favorite flower.
The bells are heavy and fleshy over 1 1/2 inches long - a pleasure to touch as well as look at. The unique shape of the flowers is welcome so late in the season.
The plants grow to about 3 feet tall in woodland settings - damp shade. They grow upright, and are rather strong and woody. Only the weight of the seedpods tends to pull them over.
Each plant will have dozens of these bells, but heavy rains tend to knock off the flowers. The seed pods swell to about 3/4 of an inch, and contain three compartments of small scaly seeds.
This is my first attempt at propagation, (trying both cuttings and saving seeds) and will report on my success (or failure) in the spring.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Denver, Colorado
Hamden, Connecticut
Ringgold, Georgia
Park Ridge, Illinois
Paoli, Indiana
Cedar Falls, Iowa
Sheldon, Iowa
Baltimore, Maryland
Westminster, Maryland
Bridgewater, Massachusetts
Dracut, Massachusetts
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Upton, Massachusetts
Wayland, Massachusetts
Plainwell, Michigan
Royal Oak, Michigan
Hopkins, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Saint Paul, Minnesota
, New Brunswick
Rochester, New Hampshire
Croton On Hudson, New York
Fairport, New York
Pittsford, New York
Sag Harbor, New York
Raleigh, North Carolina
Glouster, Ohio
Toledo, Ohio
Bay City, Oregon
Gresham, Oregon
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Hermitage, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Logan, Utah
Lexington, Virginia
Orlean, Virginia
Springfield, Virginia
Suquamish, Washington

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