Seed World

Year of the Spirea

Origin: Native to eastern Asia and grows wild throughout China, Korea and Japan.

Family: Rosaceae

Scientific Name: Spireae

History: As one of the easiest flowering shrubs to grow, spireas were easily transplanted into North America from Asia. Harvard’s Abortorium reports that spirea seed was collected as early as 1905 from John George Jack during a trip to Korea, and the original plant still grows on Harvard’s campus today.

Colors: Foliage can range from blue  to yellow, red to orange and everything in between.

Basic Variety Types: There are a few different common variety types of spireas sold today, including: Japanese spirea, Bumalda spirea, Birchleaf spirea, Korean spirea and Vanhoutte or Bridal Wreath spirea.

Popular Varieties: 

  • Little Spark
  • Rainbow Fizz
  • Pink Sparkler Birchleaf
  • Tor Birchleaf
  • Flow Girl Birchleaf
  • Superstar
  • Double Play Doozie
  • Renaissance Bridalwreath
  • Firegold

Name Origin: The genus name Spirea originates from the Greek word “speira” which means “wreath” in refence to the orientation of the shrub’s flowers.

Did You Know?: Spirea are great candidates for erosion control along hillsides, which means they can form a beautiful, flowering mass groundcover.

Don’t Mistake it For: Make sure that you don’t mistake spireas for “False spireas,” an entirely different plant! Sorbaria sorbifolia, otherwise known as a “false spirea” is a hardy deciduous shrub with clusters of small, white blooms in June and July.

Breeders: Monrovia, Proven Winners, First Editions, Earl May, Burpee, Bloomin’ Easy, Meadows Farms

Sources: National Garden Bureau, Harvard Arnold Abortorium