Vermont Garden Journal: Spirea

May 13, 2016

The spirea is a spring blooming shrub that can look magnificent when cared for properly. Unfortunately, many gardeners plant them in the wrong location and they get too big blocking windows and walkways and end up pruning them into little geometric shapes.

Many gardeners are familiar with the classic bridal wreath or Vanhouttei spirea. It's a 6-foot-tall shrub with cascading, white flowers in spring. Tor birch leaf spirea is tamer than the bridal wreath, but still has beautiful white spring flowers with great fall foliage color.

There are many summer blooming spireas too. Gold Flame has golden leaves that contrast beautifully with pink flowers on a compact shrub. Deadhead the flowers faithfully and it will bloom again in late summer. Anthony Waterer is a common rose-pink flowering spirea that grows only 2 to 3 feet tall.

Here tips to growing spireas:

  • Grow spireas in full sun on well-drained, fertile soil
  • Prune spring bloomers after flowering and summer bloomers now
  • Remove dead, diseased and broken branches and prune to open up crowded centers
  • Mulch to keep the soil consistently moist