Spirea del Giappone – Spiraea japonica – Spiraea japonica – Garden plants – Spirea del Giappone – Spiraea japonica – Arbusti

Japanese spire is a very interesting plant for gardening lovers.

In fact, these shrubs are not very demanding, easy to cultivate, fast growing and, at the same time, very flowering. They produce beautiful umbrellas or corymbs in shades of white, pink and red, illuminating the green spaces in spring or summer, depending on the variety.

A genus that includes some medium-sized, deciduous shrubs originating in Asia and Europe; the species, and the numerous varieties that derive from them, are divided into two large groups: the white, fast-growing spirals, which can reach 2-3 metres in height, bloom in spring; the pink species, which are more compact and slower growing than the previous ones, produce flowers of an intense pink colour in summer and autumn.

They are easily cultivated shrubs, which are used both as single specimens and to form coloured hedges. They lose their leaves in winter, and some have a lively autumn colouration. S. vanhouttei is an arched shrub, which produces small umbrella-shaped inflorescences, white in color, in late spring; Spirea japonica has pink flowers, growth is slow and the leaves become orange in autumn, blooms in summer; S.

cantoniensis has white flowers, double, bloom carried by short petioles, along the thin dark branches; S. thumbergii has white flowers.

White flower spires can be pruned after flowering, shortening slightly the top and removing weak or very old branches; pink spires can be pruned at the beginning of winter or at the beginning of spring, the removal of wilted flowers generally favors the production of a second flowering.


Classification and origins

The genus Spirea belongs to the family Rosaceae and includes, depending on the classifications, from 50 to 80 species of deciduous shrubs.

Almost all of them belong to the mountain flora of the northern hemisphere. They come from cool, temperate climates in Europe, Asia, North Africa and North America, as far as the heights of Mexico, and are very common in forests, on rocks or near streams.

Among these, the spiral japonica is widely used in gardens for its beauty and the production of ornamental flowers.

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Land and exposure

SpireaThe Japanese spirea plants love sunny locations, they produce profusion of flowers even in semi-shady places; they are generally not afraid of the cold and can easily withstand the scorching heat of July and August.

Abundant blooms occur with sunny or half-shaded exposures. Some cultivars (especially those with golden or reddish leaves) like instead a little more cool and shade to keep these colors unchanged.

The plants of spiral japonica are very tolerant plants in terms of soil and positioning. For best results, however, it is advisable to place them where the soil is rich in organic matter and able to remain moderately moist for a long time.

These easy shrubs develop without any problems in any soil; they prefer well drained soils rich in organic matter. In summer, it is best to mulch the soil at the base of the plants, so as to keep it cool.

Characteristics of the spirea

To the genus Spirea belong a great number of different species, each with particular characteristics. It is therefore rather difficult to make a general description of them. It can be said that they are almost all rather compact and rounded and can range from 40 to 2.50 m in height. The leaves, deciduous, have a notched margin, usually of medium green colour, even if there are cultivars with yellow or reddish shades.

Flowering may take place in spring or late summer. In these periods there is the production of clusters or bunches of flowers in shades of white, pink or red, sometimes very fragrant.

The growth is, under optimal conditions, very fast and allows you to quickly fill in large spaces (or the creation of beautiful hedges). They also adapt very well to different climatic and exposure conditions and have proven to be very resistant to cryptogams and phytophagous attacks.

Use of Spirea

pianta di SpireaDepending on their specific characteristics, the spires can be used in different ways.

The large ones are excellent as isolated specimens or in combination with other shrubs. They are also excellent for creating free hedges, alone or with other essences (they are good companions for example of red leaf berberis).

The cultivars belonging to the spirea japonica species, and therefore of a smaller size, can be placed in flowerbeds, borders or even in rocky gardens in the company of other shrubs or herbaceous plants.

Even smaller varieties (barely 40 cm high) are now also available. They are very suitable as soil cover, for the creation of hedges or even for cultivation in containers.

Spires all have the virtue of attracting a large number of insects, such as bees and butterflies. They are therefore an excellent essence for those who want to make their garden more alive. Inserting a few plants near the garden can also help pollination and ensure a more abundant harvest.


spirea del giappone The best time to plant a spire is undoubtedly autumn: the root system, in fact, will have plenty of time to develop and begin to explore the surrounding area before the arrival of summer. We will already have a good vegetative growth and a good flowering from the first year.

In any case, it can also be done at the end of the cold season, especially if the subject is in a pot and care is taken not to break the bread of the ground.

To stimulate growth, it is important to place a good quantity of mature floured manure (or a few handfuls of roasted hornbeams) at the bottom of the hole.

In case we want to create a hedge, let us remember that the ideal distance between two subjects, to obtain a fast development, is generally 60 cm. The muzzle-covering specimens, on the other hand, must be spaced about 50 cm apart.

If we want to grow a small specimen in a pot we will need a container at least 40 cm deep and wide. The ideal substrate, in that case, is a mixture of garden earth, soil for flowering plants and mature manure.


The young plants water abundantly after having planted them; usually the spires are satisfied with the rains, as they can withstand even long periods of drought, but it is advisable to water sporadically the plants during the hottest months of the year, especially the summer flowering species.

Interventions are only necessary during the first year after planting. Initially, there will be abundant intervention once a week, then every month. At the end of the season the plant should be completely free and the following years should be autonomous.

However, let’s monitor it carefully, especially if we live on the coasts or in the Centre-South of the peninsula (and in the case of long periods of drought).

In a container, it is advisable to keep the substrate slightly moist at all times, but to avoid the use of saucers.


Family, genus, species

 Rosaceae, gen.

spiraea, more than 80 species

Type of plant

 deciduous shrub


 Up to 3 meters


 Hedge, borders, isolated specimen, vase







Water requirements



 Half shade, sunshine


 Not demanding, better if rich and slightly moist


 Very rustic, suitable for all Italy


 Division, cutting, layering, offshoot


spirea It occurs by seed or by cutting. Due to the facility of rooting, we usually prefer to propagate the spires by cutting, taking them from the branches of the year, semi-woody, in summer.

Propagation is very simple for species that produce suckers: we proceed with the division at the end of winter.

For the other varieties, the semi-woody cuttings can be used around June or at the end of the summer (depending on the flowering period).

Pests and diseases

They are not seriously affected by pests or diseases, sometimes aphids can ruin the flowers.

Crop care

The wilted flowers of Japan’s spirea should be removed as soon as possible to stimulate regrowth from the plant (where, for many species, there will be flowering the following year).

When summer arrives, especially if we live in the Centre-South, it may be useful to prepare a thick mulch of leaves, straw or cut grass. It will considerably slow down the evaporation of water, keeping the soil moist for longer.


In order to keep the soil vital at all times, it is a good idea to distribute a good quantity of mature manure in autumn, either floured or pelleted. When spring arrives, it is a good idea to stimulate growth and flower production by spreading a few handfuls of synthetic fertilizer, preferring a product with good amounts of potassium and phosphorus.


It’s not always necessary. We can however intervene with cuts of containment or to rejuvenate the subjects. The rules to follow, in general, are as follows:

Spring flowering species The corollas appear to be withered. It is cut in correspondence with a ramification, possibly very low, so that the plant is stimulated to produce new and thicker branches. The branches which have not carried flowers are to be shortened by half.

We remove any dry or diseased from the base. It is also important to free the centre of the plant by favouring the passage of air and light.

Adult plants should be carefully monitored by removing at least a quarter of the oldest branches at the base, so that new shoots are produced from the head.

If you want to completely renovate a specimen, you can intervene by cutting all the branches at about 10 cm from the ground.

Summer-autumn flowering species Intervention takes place in spring, leaving a maximum of 3 buds from the base. We always eliminate the sick or too old branches.


Repotting takes place in early spring. The earthen bread is extracted and the portions of the root that are not very vital or damaged are removed. We can transfer the entire specimen into a larger container or proceed with the division if necessary.

We use a mixture of garden earth, manure and potting soil for flowering plants. On the bottom we always create a draining layer of expanded clay or gravel.

Spirea of Japan – Spiraea japonica: Variety of Spirea






Spring flowering


 Many white flowers along the branches between March and April

 Soft, arched branches.

H: 150-200 cm/L 120-200 cm

 Scented and melliferous.

For flowering hedges

Spiraea x vanhouttei

 Abundant flowering of round white bunches, between May and June

 Abundant flowering of round white bunches, between May and June

 Abundant flowering of round white bunches, between May and June


 Very abundant flowering in white or pink, between March and April, in corymbs

 H 150 cm, W up to 300 cm

Very ramified, rounded

 Hedges, isolated specimen or groups.

No pruning required

Summer flowering

 Spiraea japonica

 White or pink flowers in terminal corymbs,

between June and July

 H: up to 180 cm

bushy, upright and compact habit.

Narrow, indented leaves, reddish when young, then dark green and grey on the back

 Ideal as a low hedge, in borders or in flowerbeds.

Many cultivars are available with bronze or golden leaves (“crispa” “goldflame”).

Spiraea japonica (or x bumalda) ‘Anthony Waterer’

 Particularly long-lasting dark pink bloom from May to September

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