Spirea, also known as meadowsweet, is a genus of woody shrubs native to eastern Asia. The plants are valued for their attractive white, pink or red flowers, which bloom in spring and summer, depending on the variety. Plants grow from 3 to 8 feet in height, with a spread of 3 to 5 feet. Spirea plants are fast-growing and require only minimal care to thrive in the home garden.
Purchase spirea plants balled-and-burlapped or container-grown, and plant in early spring or fall. Select a planting location that has fertile, well-drained and slightly acidic soil. Make sure the area receives full sun to partial shade, although full sun is best for prolific blooming.
Dig a planting hole about three times as wide as the root ball and slightly less than equal depth. Place the spirea plant into the hole so the crown sits 1 to 2 inches above soil level, and then gently back-fill the planting hole with soil.
Water spirea plants thoroughly after planting. Continue watering once per week throughout spring and summer, but only on weeks that do not receive at least 2 inches of natural rainfall. Reduce the frequency of watering to once every 10 to 14 days in fall. No supplemental watering is required during winter.
Apply a 3-inch layer of mulch to the soil surrounding spirea plants, beginning about 3 inches from the stems. Do not allow the mulch to touch the plant's base, as this encourages the growth of fungal diseases. Replenish the mulch whenever the layer becomes visibly deteriorated.
Feed spirea plants twice per year, once in spring and again in fall, to encourage new growth. Use a slow-release organic fertilizer according to the manufacturer's instructions. Water the soil thoroughly before and after fertilizing to prevent root burn.
Prune spring-blooming spirea plants just after flowers fade by removing old or dead wood from the interior of the shrub with pruning shears. Prune summer-blooming spirea varieties in early spring by snipping off the tips of the branches with shears just before growth begins.