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Stachyurus Praecox, also known as Spiketail, is not commonly grown in UK gardens, but should be used more, as its habit of flowering in the late winter brings a welcome hint of spring to your garden! It has received the RHS Award of Garden Merit. Native to Japan and the mountains of eastern Asia, Stachyurus Praecox will be one of the first plants to bloom in your garden every year. Starting in February and continuing until April, chains of 10 to 20 tiny, creamy yellow flowers hang in great profusion from the gracefully arched, bare red-brown branches. They are a welcome early source of pollen for bees. The ovate leaves, 8-15 cm long, are medium green in spring and summer before turning an attractive yellow in autumn. Hardy in most parts of the UK, Spiketail will grow to a full height of 2.5-4 metres and spread of 1.5-2.5 metres in a period of 20 to 50 years. Remove any dead or damaged stems after blooming has finished in early spring, and cut out flowering shoots and crossing stems to the base. Plant your Stachyurus Praecox in full sun or partial shade in humus-rich, moist, but well-drained sand, clay or loam soil with an acid or neutral ph. It will do well in a sheltered or exposed position, but avoid a north-facing aspect. In regions with more severe winters choose a sheltered location. Apply a layer of mulch to the base of the plant in spring. Spiketail is resistant to most insects and disease. Stachyurus Praecox should be placed where you can fully appreciate its flowers in the late winter. Planted at the back of a mixed border, it will provide early season interest and then become part of the background when its flowering is done. It is also a good choice for including in a mixed informal hedge, or as part of a foundation planting. It can be planted in a woodland or wildlife garden, where its tolerance for partial shade will let it thrive under larger trees, and adding early season interest, as well as a food source for bees. Stachyurus Praecox is also well-suited to fan training against a south-facing wall to maximize its show of flowers each winter and spring. Stachyurus Praecox will be a valuable addition to your garden, with its early flowers lifting your spirits on late winter days. This hardy flowering shrub deserves a place in your landscape plans!