What Are Some Common Varieties of Spirea?

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Common spireas for landscaping include the tall, wide-spreading Vanhoutte or bridal wreath spirea, the medium-sized Japanese and dwarf spireas, and the low-growing bumald spirea. Each of these species has many cultivars, including the popular dwarf spirea “Snowmound,” which provides the classic bridal-wreath look in a smaller plant.

Spireas are shrubs of the rose family and are widely cultivated for the fragrant, drooping flowers they bear along gracefully arched branches. Some varieties, such as “Magic Carpet” and “Goldflame,” also offer attractive spring or fall foliage. Spirea species are native to a variety of climate zones and require little maintenance when grown in an appropriate environment.

Spireas prefer full sun but can tolerate light shade. They are not particular about soil, although a gardener may need to amend very poor or clay-heavy soils. Spring and fall are the best planting times. Spireas need watering when first planted and during droughts but otherwise need little attention. They benefit from mulching around their roots to keep in moisture and from an application of compost in the spring or a light general-purpose fertilizer in the fall.

For most spireas, annual pruning just after blooming ends keeps them looking tidy. Japanese and bumald spireas are an exception and need pruning in early spring to promote flowering.