Shimmering Spring Blooming Spirea

By Kerry Ann Mendez

Whenever I recommend Spirea, most customers automatically think of summer blooming varieties in the japonica species. These deer and rabbit-resistant Spirea are known as invincible warhorses for sunny, blistering hot locations where few other plants thrive. Of course, Spirea also look fantastic in less challenging settings. Not only do they have lovely, pollinator-friendly flowers, the foliage turns brilliant shades of red, yellow, orange and/or purple in fall (depending on the cultivar).

Spring Flowering Varieties

It's time that spring flowering Spirea receive the same praiseworthy attention! While many gardeners are familiar with the old fashioned Bridal Wreath Spirea, Spirea x vanhouttei 'Renaissance' is an improved cultivar with masses of white flowers covering arching branches. The blue-green leaves turn a lovely red-orange in fall. Spirea nipponica 'Snowmound' also has beautiful white flowers and blue-green leaves, but it is shorter and stems are stiffer, less cascading than 'Renaissance'.

Birch Leaf Spirea

Birch Leaf Spirea (Spirea betulifolia) is a native shrub with a dense mounded habit. 'Pink Sparkler' has masses of bright pink flowers in spring, followed by a second flush in fall. The foliage turns an attractive burgundy-red in autumn.

Mellow Yellow

Finally, Spirea thunbergii 'Ogon' (also known as 'Mellow Yellow'), is the earliest blooming Spirea. White flower clusters along the stems appear in April before the shrub has fully leafed out. The willow-like foliage is a stunning gold that turns shades of orange in fall.

Planting Tips

All of the spring bloomers prefer full to part sun in well drained soil (they dislike wet feet). They are hardy to Zone 3 except 'Ogon' and 'Snowmound' which are hardy to Zone 4. We will carry all of these stalwart winners at Estabrook's this season.

About the Author

KERRY ANN MENDEZ is an award-winning garden educator, author and design consultant based in southern Maine. Her latest book is The Budget-Wise Gardener. Check out her Garden Webinar series for more tips and tricks.

Kerry Ann Mendez