bridal wreath spirea spiraea x vanhouttei
Truly an old-fashioned favorite, this shrub has appeared in many a hedge around an old farmhouse. But with loads of white flower clusters in late spring and exceptional toughness, this is still a great choice.
Even when it’s not flowering, small blue-green leaves on arching branches make a great background planting for perennial beds. You can prune or shear this spirea, but it looks best when it has room to spread out into its natural fountainlike shape. However, if you need to rejuvenate an old, ragged plant, you can cut most of the stems back to the ground and let the plant regrow.
Like most members of the rose family, spirea are susceptible to several diseases, however newer cultivars, like ‘Renaissance’, have improved resistance to disease. At 3 to 4 ft. tall, ‘Pink Ice’ is a shorter spirea with pink, cream and green variegation and light pink flowers. These and other cultivars are available from specialty nurseries or mail-order catalogs.
TYPE Shrub SIZE 6 to 8 ft. tall, 8 to 10 ft. wide BLOOM Late spring LIGHT Full sun to part shade SOIL Adapts to most soil types PESTS Occasional powdery mildew HARDINESS Cold: USDA zones 3 to 9 Heat: AHS zones 8 to 1