Content Detail

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 a 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.  

  • Family (English) Rose
  • Family (botanic) Rosaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
  • Size range Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet), Small shrub (3-5 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 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago)
  • Soil preference Dry soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, clay soil, Dry sites, Occasional drought, Road salt
  • Season of interest early summer, midsummer, late summer, early fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Orange, Pink, White, Yellow
  • Shape or form Mounded, Multi-stemmed, Round
  • Growth rate Moderate

Size & Form: 

Shrubby cinquefoil are 1 to 4 feet high and wide with a rounded habit and finely textured stems.

Native geographic location and habitat:

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

Bark color and texture: 

Thin, finely textured stems have shredding bark.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture: 

Alternate, compound, pinnate leaves with three to seven leaflets per leaf with linear and elliptical leaflets. Leaves emerge a soft grey-green and deepen to a medium to dark green midsummer.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size: 

Single, buttercup yellow flowers are about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. They have a long blooming period from June until frost.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions: 

A dry, brown achene that persists through winter.

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 fibrous 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.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances: 

Spider mites can be troublesome in hot weather. Does not tolerate permanently wet areas. Hardy in the Midwest, withstanding extremely cold temperatures. Tolerant of aerial salt spray.

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 cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa ‘Goldfinger’):

This is a compact, mounded shrub reaching 3 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide. Bright, 1 to 2 inch yellow blooms are accented against dark green foliage.

Mango Tango™ shrubby cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa ‘UMan’):

Tidy, compact rounded form grows 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 shrubby cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa ‘McKay’s White’):

A small, mounded shrub growing 2 to 2 1/2 feet high and 2 to 3 feet wide. Creamy white flowers and soft green foliage stand up to summer heat.

Pink Beauty shrubby cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa ‘Pink Beauty’):

A rounded dense shrub reaching 2 to 3 feet high and wide with attractive pink flowers and bright green foliage.


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