Landscape Plants of the Upper Midwest

Japanese Spirea

Plant Information

  • Plant Type: Shrub: Small
  • Scientific Name: Spiraea japonica Play audio of plant name
  • Family: Spirea
  • Related Cultivars:

    Spiraea japonica 'Froebelii'
    Spiraea japonica 'Goldflame'
    Spiraea japonica 'Goldmound'
    Spiraea japonica 'Gumball'
    Spiraea japonica 'Albiflora'
    Spiraea japonica 'Anthony Waterer'
    Spiraea japonica 'Crispa'
    Spiraea japonica 'Dart's Red'
    Spiraea japonica 'Little Princess'
    Spiraea japonica 'Norman'
    Spiraea japonica 'Shibori' ('Shirobana')

  • Zone: 4
  • Plant Size: 2-3'
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Habit: Mounded
  • Culture:

    Very adaptable. Full sun to light shade.

  • Notes:

    The cultivars of this species have become immensely popular and rightfully so as a list of attributes would include: ease of culture, freedom from serious insect or disease problems, usable height, low maintenance, and a variety of flower and foliage colors. It has a wonderful uniformity and texture in mass plantings. However, like several other "foolproof" plants, it is habitually used in landscapes that would be better served with a little imagination.

    Many of the cultivars recorded here are often erroneously listed under the synonym Spiraea x bumalda. Here all of these cultivars are correctly listed under S. japonica.

    Although this species has shown the ability to become an invasive weed in the Eastern U.S. and Europe, it has not yet escaped into natural areas in the upper Midwest. In areas where the naturalization of this species is a concern, there are three sterile cultivars that can be used without risk of escape: 'Crispa', 'Dart's Red' and 'Neon Flash'.

  • Pruning:Pruning animation

    Annually, cut the entire plant back 1/2 to 2/3's of the way. Following this remove any large, old canes as close to the ground as possible which will stimulate new sprouts to develop below the cuts.

    This type of pruning should be done when the plant is dormant, late fall to early spring.

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Landscape Plants of the Upper Midwest

Bill Hoch, Associate Professor
Montana State University

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