Touch of Nostalgia with Spireas
are a lovely addition to any springtime garden. They add a touch
of nostalgia, yet they also look good in contemporary gardens.
The classic bridal wreath spirea, with its spectacular pure white
flowers that burst from tiny deciduous stems, is a favorite and
a signal that spring is around the corner.
In the Rosaceae family, the 12 Spiraea species offer a number
of varieties and crosses with interesting foliage, flowering habit
and color. Most prefer full sun to light shade with regular to
moderate watering. They grow across the U.S. with adaptable species
able to survive climatic zones 3 to 8.
Spireas tolerate many soils except those that are extremely wet.
They may be prone to summer heat and drought damage, especially
if they receive too much sun or if they are on light, sandy soils
found in coastal areas. Mulching and tending to their critical
watering needs in the summer will ensure their survival. Fall
is the best time to plant but they may be planted in the spring
as well. They generally hold up well to insect and disease pests.
There may be occasional problems with aphids and some caterpillars.
This plant grows quickly. Prune the spring-blooming types after
they flower and the summer-blooming ones in winter or early spring.
Thin out old and weak canes to the ground. Remove faded, mature
flowers on summer-blooming spireas to rejuvenate with a second
flush of flowers.
Among the many varieties to plant are the dainty 'Little Princess'
with light pink flowers; the larger repeat-blooming 'Anthony Waterer';
and 'Goldflame' with tiny red leaves that turn golden yellow in
the fall and bloom with tiny pink flowers in the spring.
In addition to 'Little Princess', the JC Raulston Arboretum (JCRA)
in Raleigh has 14 other cultivars of Spiraea japonica alone. Talk
about incredible variety in one place! See these and many other
spireas at the JCRA, with many nocated in the eastern section.
to learn more.
All photos by Robert E. Lyons