Now in bud & bloom: Spirea
Spirea is a much-loved spring and summer flowering shrub. An informal hedge of the classic Bridal Wreath Spirea with its cascading branches of white flowers is a lovely sight. Today’s varieties come in different sizes and leaf colors to suit any landscape need. There are pink, red, and white flowering varieties. Leaf color ranges from mid green to yellow/gold. Many have attractive fall color. All are easy care, growing in full sun or light shade. They are useful in foundation plantings, as hedges, and blend well with other shrubs in a mixed border. A light shearing of the plant after flowering will encourage additional blooming. If you should inherit an overgrown Spirea, it will take hard pruning well and will come back to flower again. And it is important to note that Spirea attract butterflies and are deer resistant.
Spirea x bumalda ‘Anthony Waterer’ ‘Anthony Waterer’ offers interesting foliage that emerges with reddish purple coloring in spring, matures to blue-green by summer and then turns bronze-red in fall. Deep pink semi-double flower clusters appear in early summer and will rebloom later in the season if the plant is gently sheared after the first flush of bloom. It is compact in its growth habit, reaching 3 feet tall and to 3-4 feet wide.
Spirea x bumalda ‘Goldflame’ ‘Goldflame’ is a dense mounded shrub that features attractive bronze-tinged new growth in spring which matures to soft yellow-green. Its bright pink flowers bloom in early summer. Fall foliage color is brilliant coppery-orange. It grows 3 feet tall and spreads slightly wider.
Spirea x bumalda ‘Goldmound’ ‘Goldmound’ has vibrant golden spring foliage, accented by clusters of pink flowers, making it a standout in the garden. The foliage cools to a yellowish green in summer then turns a rich, yellowish orange in fall. It reaches 2 to 3 feet in height and width.
Spirea x bumalda ‘Minigold’ As the name suggest, ‘Minigold’ is a smaller version of its cousins. The leaves are quite small and delicate looking. ‘Minigold’ grows 2 feet tall and spreads 2-3 feet wide. It is slow growing and forms a tight mound of cheerful yellow foliage topped with pink flowers.
Spirea x bumalda ‘Lemon Princess’ ‘Lemon Princess’ has gorgeous yellow foliage and flat clusters of pink summer flowers. The bright leaves hold their color for a long period and turn pinkish-red in fall color. The plant grows 1.5 to 2 feet tall with a slightly larger spread, making it ideal for rock gardens and perennial beds.
Spirea nipponica ‘Snowmound’ ‘Snowmound’ has graceful, spreading branches and spectacular clusters of white flowers in mid to late spring. The narrow foliage is a distinctive dark blue-green. It reaches 3 to 4 feet in height and width. ‘Snowmound’ received the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society of Great Britain.
Spirea japonica ‘Double Play Gold’ ‘Double Play Gold’ is noted for its attractive golden-yellow foliage that retains good color throughout the growing season. It is a dwarf, mounded cultivar that grows just 18-24 inches tall and slightly wider. Clear pink flowers appear from late spring to mid-summer and continue with an intermittent rebloom until frost. It adds easy, season long color to gardens with very little effort.
Spirea japonica ‘Little Princess’ ‘Little Princess’ has mint green foliage topped with dainty clusters of rose-pink blooms. It grows in a neat compact form, 2-3 feet tall and somewhat wider. The oval shaped leaves are sharply toothed, and take on attractive red hues in autumn.
Spirea japonica ‘Magic Carpet’ ‘Magic Carpet’ features bright golden to lime green foliage with vibrant red leaf tips. Cluster of deep pink flowers add to the colorful display in the summer. In fall, russet red tones give a new touch of color. It grows in a neat, low mounded form that reaches 1.5 to 2 feet tall and wide. The wonderful combination of colors brightens the landscape throughout the growing season.
Spirea thunbergi Ogon (Spirea ‘Mellow Yellow’) This Spirea is noted for its very early flowering time, wispy habit, and bright golden yellow leaves. In very early spring, before its leaves have unfurled, the slender branches are covered with dazzling white flowers borne in clusters. Its leaves are unlike most Spirea as they are feathery and willow-like. They emerge gold (“ogon” means gold in Japanese) and gradually change to bright green. In autumn, the leaves turn bright orange and remain on the plant very late into the season. Its twiggy, slender branches arch and flounce, giving Ogon Spirea a uniquely soft textural quality. It grows 3-5 feet in height and width.