How to Grow Spirea

Spirea produce large flower clusters in spring and summer. image by cliff1066/Flickr.com

Overview

Spirea, also known as meadowsweet, is a genus of flowering shrubs consisting of about 90 different species. They are native to most temperate regions in the Northern Hemisphere, but the largest variety of species can be found in Asia. Spirea produce large clusters of flowers along their limbs in spring and summer, which can be white, pink or red in color. They can grow up to 10 feet in height, depending on the variety, and require only minimal care to thrive.

Step 1

Plant spirea during the spring in a location that receives partial to full sun and has well-drained soil. Spread a 1-inch layer of organic compost over the the planting site and use a garden tiller to incorporate it into the soil. Place the plant in the ground at the same depth it was growing previously in the container.

Step 2

Water spirea plants just enough to keep the soil moist for the first growing season, about three or four times a week. Never allow the soil to become soggy, or root rot can occur. Reduce watering to once or twice a week after the second growing season begins. Allow the soil to partially dry between watering.

Step 3

Spread a 2-inch layer of mulch over the soil around the spirea plant to retard water evaporation and add extra nutrients to the soil. Leave a 3-inch gap between the stem of the plant and the beginning of the mulch layer to allow room for growth.

Step 4

Feed spirea once every spring using a balanced 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper application. Water thoroughly before and after applying to prevent root burn and distribute the nutrients.

Step 5

Prune away old woody stems from around the base of the plant after flowering has ended. Cut back exceptionally long stems to various lengths to create a more natural appearance. Remove any dead or dying flowers to force the spirea to create more blossoms instead of seeds.

Tips and Warnings

  • Check regularly for the presence of aphids, which can damage spirea. Spray the limbs with a water hose to forcefully remove such pests. Spirea contains methyl salicylate which can be toxic if consumed in large quantities.

Things You'll Need

  • Organic compost
  • Garden tiller
  • Mulch
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears

References

  • University of California Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources: Spirea
  • Book: Care Free Plants; Reader's Digest; 2002
  • Clemson University Home and Garden Information Center: Spirea
Keywords: spirea, spirea plants, meadowsweet

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including Gardenguides.com.

Photo by: cliff1066/Flickr.com