Dwarf Spiraea Shrubs

There are old-fashioned spiraeas with lacy white flowers such as ‘Bridal Wreath’ that are quite large, as well as many new dwarf cultivars on the market.

  • Spiraea_japonica

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    Photo: Jerzy Opioła

    Spiraea japonica

  • spiraea goldflame

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    Spiraea bumalda 'Goldflame'

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    Photo: KENPEI

    Spiraea cantoniensis (double bridals wreath)

  • Spiraea-bumalda

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    Photo: Sten Porse

    Spiraea japonica

Because the deer do not eat the spiraeas in my garden, I am becoming more and more devoted to these shrubs. I would never have predicted this would happen, but one’s preferences are often shaped by unforeseen circumstances – in life as well as in the garden.

#1 Shrub for Foundation Plantings

There are the old-fashioned spiraeas with lacy white flowers such as ‘Bridal Wreath’ that are quite large, as well as many new dwarf cultivars of spiraea on the market. In fact, I read recently that dwarf spiraea has become the number one shrub used for foundation plantings, as well as for accents in beds and borders.

They are serviceable and adaptable shrubs, not fussy about the growing conditions, but they just need to be cut back. Many of the new varieties bloom on new growth so they can be cut back early in the spring before they bloom and then again after blooming to initiate further repeat bloom.

Many Foliage Color Choices

One valuable characteristic that plant breeders have given us is varied foliage colors in modern varieties. For example, Spirea japonica ‘Magic Carpet’ has red leaf shoots that mature to light green with deep pink flowers in summer and russet leaves in the fall for three season appeal. Also ‘Goldmound’ ‘ Little Princess’ ‘Peppermint Stick’ and ‘Anthony Waterer’ all have pretty foliage, as well as attractive flowers, and are easy to grow in well-drained soil in sun.

One source is Jung Seeds and Plants.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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