Spirea shrubs and spirea are very popular and they come in several varieties and colors. Choosing which spirea shrub that will work best in your landscape will be what you are wanting to know. There are several varieties of spirea shrubs that stand out over all the others, Japanese spirea, Bumalda spirea, and Vanhoutte spirea. These shrubs can be planted along with other foundation and landscaping shrubs. They also may be placed next to a pergola or a canopy gazebo in the garden.
Japanese spirea, (Spiraea japonica) is a popular blooming landscape shrub with pink flowers. It grows best in zones 4-8 and will reach a height and width of 4-5 feet. ‘Goldflame’ is a good variety to choose. Japanese spirea is grown for its showy flowers and attractive summer foliage. Flowers appear in clusters from late spring to early summer. Leaves may be light to deep green, lime green, bronze, yellow, and even reddish.
Spirea is usually best planted in groups, and it can be used in informal hedges. It preferts well-drained soil; plants do not do well in boggy or constantly wet conditions. Plants grown in overly alkaline soils may develop chlorosis. It prefers full sun but will tolerate partial shade, but the flowers and foliage color will not be as good. *Tip-Prune pink-flowered spirea after flowering to shape the shrub or to improve its appearance. As a bonus it may rebloom for you.
Care of Japanese Spirea Shrub
Keep the soil evenly moist from spring until the ground freezes in fall. Feed every spring with plant food, such as Miracle Gro. Avoid overfeeding, because it promotes succulent growth that is attractive to aphids. Prune out any dead, diseased, or broken branches at any time. Prune to shape the plant right after it blooms.
Propagation of spirea shrubs can be done by planting seeds outdoors in the fall, or by layering, or taking softwood or hardwood cuttings.
The main problem with spirea will be aphids, which may appear on new soft growth at the tips of stems. Leaf spot is also a disease that may affect the foliage. In some cases, deer and rabbits may nibble on the plants.
Burmalda Spirea Shrub
Spiraea japonica ‘Burmalda’ has white to deep pink flowers. It is usually less than 3’ in height but may reach 4-5’. It is hardier to zone 3. It may develop iron chlorosis if the soil pH is too high. The popular cultivar ‘Anthony Waterer’ is a 3-4’ tall plant with showy carmine-pink flowers that bloom for most of the summer. ‘Goldflame’ has bright golden-yellow leaves that turn green in summer and red in fall.
Vanhoutte Spirea Shrub
This is an old-fashioned spirea, also known as ‘bridalwreath’. It is best known for its white flowers in the spring time. The Vanhoutte spirea is a popular time-tested shrub that is tuff and adaptable. It is showy when in bloom in mid to late spring. The small white flowers appear in 1-2”clusters at the branch tips and almost cover the plant. The foliage is dull bluish green. It also prefers well drained soil and prefers full sun. Much of the same care will be the same as the Japanese and Burmalda spirea.
Some of the related species include ‘Pink Ice’ which is splashed with pink and white. ‘Renaissance’ exhibits greater resistance to foliar disease. Snow-mound nippon spirea (S.nipponica) grows 3’ tall and is covered with white flowers. Thunberg spirea (S. Thunbergii) is the earliest spirea to bloom. It also has white flowers.