SPIREA

FAMILY: Rosaceae | GENUS: SPIRAEA

TYPE
  • Deciduous
  • Shrubs
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Full Sun
  • Partial Shade
WATER
  • Moderate Water
  • Regular Water

Plant Details

Unless your garden sits in a cave or the middle of the ocean, you probably have room for a spirea. They are a varied lot, offering a number of sizes, forms, and flowering seasonsbut they can be broken down into two basic groups according to bloom time. Spring bloomers feature clusters of white flowers cascading down from arching branches; summer bloomers are compact and shrubby, with pink, red, or white flowers clustered at the branch ends. Both types look more effective when massed in sweeps and borders than when used singly. White-flowered spireas look better against a dark background. The cut branches of spring-flowering types are great for forcing into bloom for indoor arrangements.

All spireas are tough and easy to grow; with few exceptions, they are not fussy about soil. Deer don't favor them.

double reeves spirea

spiraea cantoniensis 'Flore Pleno' ('Lanceata')

  • Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9.
  • From China, Japan.
  • To 56 feet tall, 10 feet wide, with arching branches.
  • Double white flowers wreathe the leafy branches in late spring to early summer.
  • Lance-shaped, blue-green leaves to 212 inches long; they drop late, show no fall color.
  • Plant is nearly evergreen in mildest climates.
  • Prune as for spring bloomers.

japanese spirea

spiraea japonica

  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Native to Japan, China.
  • Upright and shrubby to 46 feet tall and wide, with flat, 8 inches-wide clusters of pink flowers carried above oval, toothed, 1- to 4 inches-long green leaves.
  • Best known through its selections, which are typically lower than the species and bloom between summer and fall.
  • They include plants formerly classified as hybrids of Spiraea xbumalda, itself now considered merely a selection.

Albiflora

  • To 2 feet tall, 3 feet wide.
  • Pale green leaves; white flowers.

Anthony Waterer

  • To 35 feet tall and wide.
  • Carmine-pink blossoms.
  • Leaves are reddish purple when new, maturing to bright green.

Bumalda

  • To 3 feet high and wide.
  • Dark pink flowers; bronzy new growth.

Candlelight

  • To 23 feet high and wide.
  • Butter-yellow foliage; pink blooms.

Coccinea

  • To 23 feet tall and wide.
  • Maroon-tinged foliage; red flowers.

Dart's Red'. To 2 feet high and wide. A compact sport of 'Anthony Waterer', with redder flowers.

Firelight

  • To 23 feet high, 4 feet wide.
  • Leaves emerge reddish orange and retain their color into summer, then turn fiery red in fall.
  • Pink flowers.

Golden Elf

  • Dwarf to 69 inches high, 12 feet wide.
  • Golden leaves usually hold their color into autumn.
  • Tiny pink blossoms.

Goldflame

  • To 212 feet high and wide.
  • Bronze new growth matures to yellowish green, turns dark reddish orange in fall.
  • Red flowers.

Limemound

  • To 3 feet tall, 6 feet wide.
  • Lemon-yellow new leaves mature to lime-green, then turn orange-red in fall.
  • Light pink flowers.

Little Bonnie

  • To 23 feet tall, 3 feet wide.
  • Blue-green foliage.
  • Lavender-pink blooms over a long period.

Little Princess

  • To 3 feet tall, 6 feet wide.
  • Rose-pink blossoms.

Magic Carpet

  • To 112212 feet tall, slightly wider.
  • Reddish bronze new leaves turn chartreuse to yellow as they mature.
  • Pink flowers.

Nana

  • ('Alpina').
  • ALPINE SPIREA.
  • To 2 feet tall, 5 feet wide.
  • Pink flowers.
  • Good red fall foliage in some years.

Neon Flash

  • To 34 feet tall, 45 feet wide.
  • Purple-tinted foliage; bright rose-pink flowers.

Shirobana

  • To 23 feet high and wide.
  • Red buds open to bicolored blossoms in white and deep pink.

spiraea nipponica 'Snowmound

  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • From Japan.
  • Compact, spreading plant to 23 feet tall, 35 feet wide.
  • Profusion of white flowers in late spring or early summer.
  • Ovate to roundish, dark green leaves to 1 14 inches long; little autumn color.
  • Prune as for spring bloomers.

bridal wreath spirea

spiraea prunifolia

  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • From China, Taiwan.
  • Graceful, arching branches on a suckering, clump-forming plant to 67 feet tall and wide.
  • In early to midspring, bare branches are lined with small, double white flowers resembling tiny roses.
  • Small dark green leaves turn bright shades of red, orange, and yellow in autumn.
  • An old Southern favorite.

baby's breath spirea

spiraea thunbergii

  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • From China, Japan.
  • Showy, billowy, graceful species 36 feet or taller, 6 feet wide, with many slender, arching branches.
  • Round clusters of small white flowers appear all along the bare branches in early spring.
  • Blue-green, extremely narrow leaves to 112 inches long turn soft reddish brown in fall.
  • An old-time favorite in the South, with several outstanding selections.
  • Fujino Pink has dark pink buds that open to light pink flowers.
  • Mount Fuji bears the typical white blooms, but its leaves (some of them twisted and curled) are green striped with white.
  • White-flowered 'Ogon' has soft yellow foliage.

spiraea trilobata 'Swan Lake

  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Selection of a species from Siberia and northern China.
  • Like a small version of Spiraea prunifolia.
  • Grows 34 feet tall and wide, with a massive show of tiny white flowers in mid- to late spring.
  • Leaves are just 1 inches long, often three lobed.
  • Fairy Queen is similar but more compact, seldom exceeding 3 feet.

van houtte spirea

spiraea x vanhouttei

  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Hybrid between Spiraea cantoniensis and Spiraea trilobata.
  • The classic spring-blooming spirea for Southern gardens.
  • Arching branches form a fountain to about 6 feet high by 8 feet or wider.
  • Leafy branches are covered with circular, flattened clusters of white blossoms in mid- to late spring.
  • Dark green, diamond-shaped leaves to 112 inches long may turn purplish in fall.

Prune spring bloomers yearly in late spring after flowering, cutting one-third of the oldest branches to the ground. Prune summer bloomers in winter or earliest spring, before new growth begins; they generally need less pruning than spring bloomers. If you remove spent flower clusters in summer, plants will produce a second (but less lavish) bloom.

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