Among the easiest flowering shrubs to grow, spireas are often used in foundation plantings, as hedges, and in perennial gardens. Most spireas bloom in late spring to midsummer. Flower colors include pink, red, yellow, and white, depending on the variety. Some types have colorful fall foliage. Size depends on the species and variety, and can range from 2 to 10 feet tall and wide. Low-growing bumald spirea (S. bumalda) and medium-sized Japanese spirea (S. japonica) can be used throughout the landscape. Vanhoutte spirea (S. vanhouttei), the classic bridal wreath spirea, grows up to 10 feet tall and 20 feet wide, so give it plenty of elbow room. Masses of small, white flower clusters cover the plant in the spring.
Special features of spiraeas
Easy care/low maintenance
Plant in spring or fall. Space plants 2 to 15 feet apart, depending on the expected mature size of the plant. Dig a hole only as deep as the root ball and 2 to 3 times as wide. If your soil is in very poor condition, amend the soil you've removed from the hole with a small amount of compost. Otherwise don't amend it at all. Carefully remove the plant from the container and set it in the hole. Fill in around the root ball with soil until the hole is about half filled. Then firm the soil and water thoroughly. Fill the hole with the remaining soil and water again. Form a raised ridge of soil around the perimeter of the hole so it acts like a berm to help hold in water.
Apply a layer of compost under the tree each spring, spreading it out to the dripline (the area under the outermost branches). Add a 2-inch layer of mulch to retain moisture and control weeds. Water plants during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week. Deadheading spent flowers will sometimes induce a second flowering. Most spireas can be pruned after flowering to reduce height and maintain the desired shape. However, Japanese and bumald spireas should be pruned in early spring to promote the best flowering. Remove dead, diseased, and broken branches anytime. Spireas can be severely pruned and will grow and flower again.