Bridalwreath Spirea

Photo Credit: Randy Lemmon

Spirea (Spirea prunifolia), or Bridalwreath, is an heirloom shrub that is an annual show-off in the early Spring garden.  They have delicate-looking, cascading stems that are smothered from top to bottom in double white flowers appearing in February and March.

This classic shrub looks stunning alongside our azaleas.  And, when not in bloom, it’s a nice surprise just how dark green their cascading foliage is. They’ll get maybe 6-7 feet tall at maturity but their spread of 5-6 feet is what helps them look so attractive.

For years, savvy Houston landscapers used this plant a lot and, as noted, especially in conjunction with azaleas.  I’m not sure why its popularity waned in the past 10 years.  But thanks to its ability to bounce back from the February 2021 Freeze, all that popularity is about to re-emerge.

If there’s one down-side to the Spirea is that you have to prune it and feed it consistently.  Think about your azalea care practices and apply that to the Spirea.  In other words, this is not a care-free or no-care type of plant.  And again, much like azaleas, they should be pruned right after the early spring bloom season.  That also means a couple of feedings with azalea food, spread out over 2 months.

You can use it as a hedge row, but when and where I see the best looking Spirea, they are usually on corners of landscape beds, and they are often on their own.  In other words, they look good randomly and independently throughout landscapes. 

They do like sun in the mornings and shade in the late afternoons.  If you can do filtered light all day, they’ll perform well.  And while they will grow in more shady landscapes, those tend to get thinner and leggier.