Bridal wreath spiraea (Spiraea prunifolia), hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 or 5 through 8, is a deciduous shrub and a member of the rose (Rosaceae) family. It is grown for its double, white flowers that appear in spring on arching branches. The bush is vigorous to the point that it has been reported as invasive in some locations, especially in the southeastern United States. Although the plant reproduces prolifically on its own, it is also relatively simple to propagate.
Layering is a propagation method that sometimes happens naturally to plants, such as spiraea, that have long, arching branches. Layer spiraea by selecting a long branch and removing several leaves near the branch's end. Keep the branch attached to the shrub, and lay it on the ground with its leaf nodes -- where leaves you removed formerly joined the stems -- facing downward and in contact with the earth. The branch needs to be weighted with a rock or piece of bent wire used as a staple to keep it in position. Leave the branch in place for several months, until new growth appears. Then the branch can be detached from the parent bush and planted.
Softwood is flexible spring growth that still snaps when bent, and taking a softwood cutting in one way to propagate a bridal wreath bush. Cut the 3- or 4-inch-long tip off a softwood branch of the bush. Strip off all except the cutting's top few leaves, and dip its other end, which is its cut end, in rooting hormone. The next task is to fill a small container with damp perlite; use one container per cutting if you take multiple cuttings. Make a hole in the perlite with a pencil, insert the cutting's cut end in the hole and firm the potting medium around the cutting. The cutting's container needs to be put in a clear, plastic bag and placed in indirect light. In order to provide ventilation, however, put a few holes in the bag, and insert a stick in the container to ensure the bag doesn't touch the cutting.
Seedlings and Suckers
The easiest way to propagate bridal wreath spiraea is to take advantage of nature's bounty and let the plant do the work. Watch for natural branch layering, and be aware of seedlings that spring up near the parent plant. Carefully dig and transplant the seedlings and/or layered plants to small containers or dedicated nursery beds. The shrub also may produce root suckers, which are new branches that grow from the shrub's roots. The suckers can be removed with their root portions still attached and transplanted to new locations.
After you have propagated bridal wreath spiraea, use the new bushes as repeated elements in a traditional annual, perennial and shrub border. The plants, which grow from 4 to 8 feet tall, should be positioned at the middle to rear of such landscapes, depending on the dimensions of the planting scheme. Besides displaying spring flowers, they add fall color. Spiraea bushes attract butterflies and are options for butterfly gardens. If you live in an area where deer are a problem, then using bridal wreath spireas may be an answer because they are less attractive to deer than many other plants.
- Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, Fifth Edition; Michael A. Dirr
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Spiraea Prunifolia
- Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States: Bridal Wreath Spiraea
- Fine Gardening: Making More Shrubs
- North Carolina State University: Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings -- Instructions for the Home Gardener