White spirea is well-loved among all new and experienced gardeners for lots of reasons. They’re easy to grow and care for, offer a quick growth rate and are strikingly beautiful. They are deciduous shrubs that either bloom during the spring and the summer. The summer spirea bushes bloom in brilliant red, pink and white flowers on straight branches. On the other hand, the spring spirea bushes delicately cascade into white clustered flowers on curved branches.
White Spirea: Cultivation and History
Spirea is a genus with over eighty shrubs in the Rosaceae family. Another spelling of the plant is Spiraea, and it is gotten from the Greek word ‘spirea,’ meaning spiral. This is because of the appearance of Spirea plants, especially their small, attractive flowers that writhe around each other.
The plant originates from temperate areas in the Northern Hemisphere, most notably in Eastern China where you can find a diverse range of species.
White spirea grows in grouped clusters, and each little white flower can be likened to apple blossom, except that it has five petals and many stamens.
White spirea plants are hardy deciduous plants and are mostly classified as spring flowering. They are known for their free growth and many flowers. Their leaves are organized alternately on the steps with pointy margins.
Also, white spirea shrubs attract many pollinators, including butterflies. They are also deer resistant and can be very tolerant of cold and heat. Because of their reliable form, they are prevalent among plant-lovers.
Propagation and Varieties of Spirea
When it comes to the propagation of spirea, the best methods are ground layering, softwood, and hardwood cuttings. Ground layering is the simplest and still effective. It also ensures the stem is yet connected to the main plant while new roots grow. When propagating spirea with ground layering, you have to use long and flexible stems.
Hardwood and softwood cuttings are also ideal and should be done during winter and summer, respectively. Since it’s effortless to propagate spirea shrubs, it’s rewarding to add them to your garden.
As for the varieties of spirea, there are many apart from white spirea shrubs. The most popular type is the Triumphan, which is a summer-blooming spirea shrub with dark pink blossoms. Apart from this, we also have the Bridal Wreath Spirea, which has beautiful white flowers and can be used as hedge plants.
If you like plants that bloom early, Astilbe and its pale pink flowers will be a perfect fit in your garden. Another variety is the spring-blooming shrub scientifically called Spirea densiflora which blooms into bright pink flowers.
How to Grow White Spirea.
Since white spirea shrubs are easy to grow, you don’t have to worry about bending over backward to give them a permanent place in your garden. Though they survive in a wide range of soils, it’s better to plant them in soils with a slightly acidic pH, or even better, a neutral one. Also, soil with an average level of fertility is needed. Keep in mind that spirea bushes are not heavy feeders, and you can end up with a sprawling plant if you feed them too much fertilizer.
Spirea shrubs need to be planted in areas with full sunlight with a partial light shade. You also need to put in place a drainage system, and if you have heavy soil in your garden, tweak it a little with sharp sand. They are tolerant to drought, but when they’re still finding their footing, you have to water the plant regularly.
When planting spirea shrubs, start with digging. The hole you’re digging has to be double the width of the plant, and have the depth of the root.
Next, sprinkle bone meal into the planting hole.
Loosen the twisted roots gently before you place them in the hole. After inserting it in the hole, fill it up with the soil you removed and ensure the plant is firmly in place. Lastly, water it and add about three inches of compost.
White Spirea Growing Tips
Here are some tips to help when growing your spirea shrubs.
- Although partial shades are needed for white spirea shrubs, you still need to give it access to enough sunlight. This allows the plant to bloom vibrant and brighter flowers.
- Don’t over-fertilize your white spirea plants. Overfeeding will lead to a sprawling plant, and no one wants that. Feeding the plant once in spring with fertilizer will make do for the whole season.
- Wet feet are also harmful to spirea shrubs. You have to install a top-notch drainage system so that there’s not too much water and keep this in mind when you water the plants.
- If you want your plant to rebloom, you have to tidy up the plant by deadheading the flowers that came out after blooming.
- Give your spirea shrubs enough space. If they’re tightly close to each other, they will undergrow and won’t achieve maturity. Ensure you have enough space in your garden before you decide to plant white spirea shrubs.
White Spirea: Pruning and Maintenance
White spirea plants require yearly maintenance and regular hard pruning so that they don’t overgrow or bloom fewer flowers. Since they are carefree and fast-growing plants, if you ignore the pruning, it’ll harm the flowering process of the plant.
White spirea plants usually bloom on the growth from the previous year, and so you need to prune them immediately after they have flowered during spring. The canes of the plant can be trimmed or cut entirely to the ground to control the level of growth and keep it compact.
After flowering, remove the washed-out blooms, invigorate the foliage and get the plant to bloom again through a light shearing process. Since the plants are resistant to cold and frost, you don’t have to pay special attention during the winter. Although, if they’re newly planted, you have to mulch the plants to protect the roots from the weather.
Cultivars to Select
There are many cultivars to select when it comes to white spirea bushes, but there are two main ones that you should consider.
- Bridal Wreath Spirea: Although this choice is old-fashioned, it remains a timeless classic and is very popular among those who want to plant white spirea plants. The shrub features many beautiful and tiny, double-petaled white flowers. The branches are also upright and slightly arched, making beautiful hedge plants. The flowers grow in cascades and clusters in early spring. They are also attractive to butterflies and can be used in sunny landscape margins, borders, and hedges.
- Birchleaf: Birchleaf Spirea is another cultivar you can select, as it blooms into groups of tiny white flowers during the late spring seasons. It’s a rounded shrub that covers the foliage, and during autumn, it adds more color to your garden, transforming into bright colors like purple, orange, and red. The plant is always attractive when planted in groups because of its diverse colors, and it is appealing to butterflies so it’ll make a beautiful addition to your garden. It blooms in late spring and early summer and should be pruned during early spring and late winter.
Managing Pests and Diseases
Since white spirea shrubs are very easy to plant and take care of, you can be sure that pests and diseases are not a severe problem. But, since the plant belongs to the rose family, they are sometimes vulnerable to some pests and diseases that other plants in the family suffer. This includes spider mites, aphids, and powdery mildew.
You can take care of spider mites and aphids by spraying a lot of water on the sides of the leaves and stems, or spray neem oil and wash your plants with insecticidal soap. If you notice the insects again, you should use these methods.
Some helpful insects like ladybugs and lacewings can also be added to your garden to control the pests and add more life to your garden.
Powdery mildew, a fungus, also attacks many plants, especially those in the rose family. You can easily spot signs of this fungus when you see its pale dusting of spores on the flowers and leaves of your white spirea. If you don’t take care of the fungus, your leaves will droop, and your plant will suffer stunted growth.
Ensure your plant is in a position that gets lots of sun and receives proper circulation. If the fungus has already affected your plant, remove the infected parts. You can also use a fungicide if the powdery mildew is persistent.
Spirea can be used in large groups for hedges and can be planted as a group for a screen. It also acts as a perfect specimen plant in a landscape and mixed perennial beds. You can also plant them in smaller gardens, or borders, groundcovers, low hedges, and containers, along sidewalks, pathways, and rockeries.
Since the flowers are beautiful, they are a beautiful addition to flower arrangements.
As long as you give your white spirea shrubs a lot of sunlight, excellent drainage, and enough room to grow, you can enjoy their cascades of tiny, aesthetic white flowers.
Frequently Asked Questions About Spirea.
Should spirea be cut back every year?
Spirea should be cut back to two-thirds of its size every fall after the bloom period to encourage new growth in spring. If left untouched, it can grow tall and wide, and even if you remove some of its growth, it’s still likely to a considerable height. However, if you trim too much, the plant won’t be able to grow back again this year. But leaving too much growth will lead to the plant being less vigorous the following spring and summer and having fewer flowers. Cut back all the leaves that you need to. If you have a large amount of foliage, cut back one-third of the plant. Remove all of the leaves except for a single stem of the main branch. The single stem should be one-third of the original height and width. Afterward, let the plant grow back until it’s ready to be fertilized and watered.
Does spirea need full sun?
This plant loves the full sun but is not fussy about where it gets its rays. Some light shade is okay but partial shade is best. In general, spirea will perform best in soil that drains well. Spirea prefers a well-drained, acidic (pH 6.5–7.5) soil with plenty of organic matter. It likes a slightly alkaline pH level. Avoid clay soils, which tend to be dry and don’t drain well.
How big do spirea bushes get?
Spireas grows up to 5-7 feet tall and wide and can bloom almost year-round. They can grow in shady and sunny spots, but they’re known for growing in full sun. The only problem with spireas is that they take a lot of time to grow and are slow to flower, so it’s hard to get them to blossom when they’re ready. Fortunately, there are many varieties, some of which flower earlier than others, and there are also cultivars (hybrids) that flower a bit later but have greater color intensity. Some even have double flowers.
Does spirea do well in shade?
Spirea plant grows and thrives better when exposed to more sunlight, and they also flourish when they have adequate air circulation. Plants grow best with cool air because they need cooler temperatures to thrive. However, there are other factors involved that can affect a plant’s growth. One of these factors is shade. Shade is a factor that plants have to deal with, making them stressed. Shade stresses out plants because it affects the amount of sunlight they receive. This means that the sun needs to be stronger than usual. But if you notice that your plants are starting to wilt or look sad, this is a sign that they are stressed and have trouble coping with their light condition or environment. This doesn’t mean that they are dead or dying, however. All that you have to do is change the amount of light they get. For example, you can move them to a brighter spot. You can also bring a full-spectrum light bulb into their spot. In this case, you might need to use a timer to ensure that you don’t over-light them, but the results would still be positive.
In conclusion, white spirea (Spirea alba) is an evergreen shrub growing from 2.5 to 10 feet tall. Its branches are covered in small, white, four-petalled flowers during May. This popular shrub can be grown in full sun or part shade, but it is most effective when planted near a water source or frequently watered. This perennial is an excellent garden plant for attracting butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators to your yard. In addition, it is one of the easiest plants to grow so that you can enjoy a beautiful display of flowers in a short time!