Spirea care & pruning

When Spirea blooms large clusters of cascading flowers on its arching branches, the plant looks spectacular and mesmerizes the visitors.  It is a deciduous shrub that blossoms white, pink or red flowers and adds to the beauty of any landscape. Based on the timing the shrub blooms, Spireas can be grouped into two types: summer blooming or spring blooming. This shrub grows quite fast. When it reaches the 2-year mark, it starts to flower in a full-fledged fashion. Though a spirea plant is quite easy to maintain, both beginner and experienced gardeners can grow this in their backyard.


As said before, growing spirea is very easy as these are flexible in nature and have a faster growth rate. Spirea bushes now are readily available for purchase in many greenhouses or garden stores. The best time to plant this shrub is during spring. While spirea grows and expands its branches during maturity, picking an open spot to plant it is important. Also, the spot should get partial or full sun. If Spirea is not exposed to ample sunlight, the size and number of blooms decreases.

To plant spirea, you will need a spade or garden tiller, mulch, water hose, and some compost.  When you have these ready, dig a hole that is deep and wide enough to hold its root ball. If your soil is extremely dry and is not very fertile, add about 2 inches of organic matter or compost.  Next, remove the root bound plant from its pot and place it upright in the hole. Fill in the soil until the top surface of the root ball becomes one with the ground. With a water hose, thoroughly water the plant and add 2 inches of mulch to cover the area beneath the stem.

If you are planning to plant more than one Spireas, place them at least 5 to 15 feet away from each other. This way the plants get separation they need especially to the varieties that grow low. When it comes to planting time, Spireas are flexible. However, gardeners like to plant these during fall or spring to give them the time to become mature and establish before summer.


To take care of spirea, you need to do simple things such as mulching and watering in summer. Overall, maintaining spirea is not time-consuming.


Spirea does not need regular watering. But for the first 3 to 4 months after planting, you need to water it every 2 days especially during drought or late fall. Roughly, Spireas require 1 gallon of water through the week, and this can be fed through a sprinkler or drip irrigation two times a week. In case the soil in which you have planted in is clay like, and it absorbs water slowly, feed water in sessions with 2 hours apart.  Daily watering is needed only when spireas are going through a drought or dry summer.


Adding fertilizer once a year during the start of fall is sufficient for the nutrition of spireas. These plants are not heavy feeders on minerals and other nutrients. Spread some all-purpose slow-release fertilizer for providing steady nutrition to these plants during the growing season.


With organic mulching, Spireas can be protected during frost and drought. Add 2 to 5-inch layer of leaves, twigs and other dry organic waste around the soil, It will protect the roots and hold the moisture intact. This also helps reduce the frequency of watering.

If you are using leaves in the mulch make sure to chop them as full leaves prevent water from entering the root. Once every two weeks, with a shovel, turn the mulch to avoid development of fungal spores and insect harbor. If there are weeds, you can hand pluck them and put them in the mulch.


Since Spirea can grow in all ways, it needs pruning to shape it and promote new growth. Leaving them untrimmed can make the plants look less healthy as well as less charming. Spirea needs pruning at different seasons. Depending on the variety, spirea may grow up to 6 feet.

Pruning after flowering is over

On most varieties, you will need to cut the tips after flowering season is over. On the stem, cut back the topmost leaf bud and clear shears. As you prune, maintain the shrub’s shape and pluck the dead flowers to encourage the formation of new buds.

Removing overgrowth in summer

During summer, Spireas develop dead branches and these need to be cut. Also, there will be overgrown branches and stem protrudes. You can cut these slightly shorter so that they do not belittle the appearance of the plant.

Pruning during fall

During the fall, the lower part of the stem is left with some foliage after leaves from above completely fall off. Cut all the foliage within 8 to 10 inches from the ground. Do not worry about cutting the plant as it grows fast and new grown branches are capable of flowering.

Pruning during late winter

In late winter, the buds begin to get thick and start developing leaves. Also at the same time, there will be leftover or dead wood that can rub together with newly forming branches. Prune these and the newly formed ones that are too close to each other.


Spirea is well adapted to survive in extreme cold temperatures as low as -4F or -20C. It becomes inactive during frost season and comes back to life in the spring.

Overall, the experience of growing spirea is very rewarding. It can decorate your landscape and make your home special and colorful. Give spirea a try, and you’ll love having it for many years to come at your property.