Spirea Is All Dressed Up for a Garden Wedding

Bridal Wreath conjures up visions of weddings.

Bridal Wreath

Bridal Wreath

Bridal Wreath is the most classic variety of spirea, aptly named because of its graceful cascading clusters of white flowers.

Bridal Wreath is the most classic variety of spirea, aptly named because of its graceful cascading clusters of white flowers.

I’ll always associate spirea with weddings. That’s because as a child I’d help my grandma snip branches of a shrub that she called “Bridal Wreath” for bringing indoors to enjoy.

It wasn’t until years later that I learned that Bridal Wreath is just one of many types of spirea, and probably the best known. That’s thanks to the cascading branches of clustered white blossoms that spill from this small to medium-sized deciduous shrub every spring.

Spirea is one of those old-fashioned, heirloom shrubs that folks like my grandma prized especially when paired with spring bulbs. It’s also one of the easiest flowering shrubs to grow, perfect for mixed borders as well as foundation plantings. Imagine a hedge of it when it’s in its full glory.

Most spireas bloom in late spring to midsummer in red, pink and yellow varieties in addition to the well-known white. And while their foliage is pretty nondescript, some types offer light green or gold leaves, while others produce fall color.

Some spireas can grow as large as 10 feet tall and wide. The classic Bridal Wreath, Spirea vanhouettei, is known to spread as much as 20 feet so leave plenty of room for one when planting. Like most flowering shrubs, they prefer full sun.

Spireas adapt well to most garden situations so enjoy their low-maintenance needs. Each spring, apply a layer of compost under the shrub, followed by 2 inches of mulch for retaining moisture and preventing weeds. After the shrub flowers you sometimes can get a second bloom by deadheading the spent flowers.

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