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Growing Spirea

Growing Spirea

Sem Sorbaria Spirea


Very popular, hardy flowering shrubs in several forms. Japanese Spiraea (Spiraea japonica) has an upright habit with flat terminal flower clusters. Van Houtte Spirea (20958) has arching branches covered with clusters of white flowers. Sem Sorbaria Spirea (Sobaria sorbifolia, 20901), also called False Spirea, has attractive ferny foliage and dense, feathery flower clusters. All are good for foundation plantings, specimen plants, low hedges, butterfly gardens, and massing. Most have colorful leaves in fall and are hardy to at least zone 4. Plant bare root Spirea in spring 4 to 8 weeks before the last frost. Prepare a planting hole 12 to 18 inches deep and wide, mixing in compost or other organic matter. Plant with the roots slightly deeper than in the nursery.


All are very easy-to-grow. Japanese Spirea should be planted in full sun, but Van Houtte and Sorbaria types tolerate part shade. Deadheading promotes reblooming. Best in well-drained soil but tolerates heavy clay soil. Deer tolerant. Prune to remove dead wood and broken branches as needed.

Fertilizer Recommendations

Use full rates of Gromax Fertilizer Tablets 20-10-5 (51165), Algoflash All-Purpose Liquid Fertilizer 6-6-6 (51085), or Neptune Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer 2-3-1 (51221), or Osmocote 14-14-14 (51173).

Alternative Products

Other easy-to-grow flowering shrubs include Forsythia, new Bangle Genista (20497), and Ninebark.

Complimentary Products

Moderate feeders that benefit from occasional fertilization. Other shrubs that are attractive to butterflies include Butterfly Bush, Lilac, Ruby Spice Summersweet (20307), and new Snow Dwarf Mockorange (20710).

Spirea Facts

Usually without serious problems. Aphids, leaf roller, scale, fireblight, leaf spot, and powdery mildew are sometimes problems. Spirea is one of the most popular flowering shrubs in large part because it is so easy-to-grow.

Growing Tips