How to Care for Spirea Plants

Spireas are flowering shrubs often used in home landscapes as hedges or as foundation plantings around the exterior of a house. Spireas come in many dozens of varieties; their mature height ranges from 2-10 feet. Spireas varieties offer a wide selection of blooming color for your landscape, including red and pink, yellow, and white. Spireas bloom from spring to midsummer and many varieties have leaves that change color in the fall.

Things You'll Need

  • Full sun
  • Water
  • Fertilizer
  • Garden shears
  • Hedge trimmer

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Spirea do best in USDA Hardiness Zones 4-9 and require full sun and water. If rainfall in your area is less than one inch per week during the peak of the growing season, water plants with a sprinkler. If planting spirea in groups for a hedge or as foundation shrubs, allow adequate space between plants for their mature size. Depending on the variety of spirea you plant, space them from 2-15 feet apart.

When planting new spirea plants, dig a hole as deep as the root ball or plant container and about three times as wide. Place the roots of the spirea into the hole, adding soil halfway to the top of the hole. Water and pat down soil firmly, then add remaining soil and water again. Compost and add 2 inches of mulch around the new plant; repeat composting/mulching each spring.

For spirea varieties that bloom in the early spring, prune just after they bloom. Spring blooming varieties bloom on old growth; pruning after they bloom will encourage new growth and control the size of the plant. For spirea varieties that bloom in the summer, prune in the spring before they bloom; summer blooming varieties bloom on new growth. Summer blooming varieties can be pruned aggressively to control growth.

Tips & Warnings

  • Plant spirea as a flowering garden hedge.
  • Deadheading may result in a second set of flowers later in the growing season.
  • Spirea are vulnerable to fire blight and insects; contact your local university extension office for information on diseases and pest affecting spirea in your area.


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