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The Flowering Bridal Wreath or Spirea Bush in Garden Landscaping

Updated on July 3, 2017
Peggy W profile image

My grandpa loved gardening. I learned much from him. To this day I enjoy puttering around in our garden growing plants for beauty & food.

Close-up of bridal wreath (spirea) shrub in bloom.
Close-up of bridal wreath (spirea) shrub in bloom. | Source

When designing a plan for garden landscaping, it is often desirable to work in some flowers and plants that add splashes of color for additional definition and interest.

One of the many flowering plants which should be considered is the bridal wreath, also known as Spirea. It is a hearty old fashioned plant and is commonly found growing in the Northern Hemisphere. Interestingly, it is actually related to the family of roses.

This shrub is a fairly low maintenance plant and once established can be propagated from division of the root ball or it can quite easily be grown from cuttings of the woody stems.

Bridal Wreath shrub in our subdivision
Bridal Wreath shrub in our subdivision | Source
BRIDAL WREATH SPIREA - Size: 1 Gallon, live plant, includes special blend fertilizer & planting guide
BRIDAL WREATH SPIREA - Size: 1 Gallon, live plant, includes special blend fertilizer & planting guide

If you do not have access to a friendly neighbor who will allow you to take cuttings from their spirea shrub (as my parents were able to do while living in Wisconsin), you can always purchase them from nurseries or online sources such as this.


Landscape Gardening

The bridal wreath shrub that I first saw as a child growing in my parent's yard was a thing of beauty. Next to the woods, the acreage where my parents built their home in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin had been a field with native grasses growing in it. Every single tree, shrub, and flower that graced our yard and garden space was lovingly planted by my parents. It was a blank canvas so-to-speak where my mother and father were able to create their own masterpiece and beautiful it was!

The cascading branches of the large bridal wreath shrub that would bear those striking white blossoms each spring were one of the bushes chosen to be used in the yard to add its own particular beauty.

The pictures taken and shown in this article are from a neighbor's yard in Houston, Texas. Showing the fountain-like branches dipping down to the ground festooned with the many brilliant white blossoms it makes me think of the bridal wreath bushes in my parent's yard in those early days of my childhood.

Bridal Wreath Shrub
Bridal Wreath Shrub | Source

What to Know Before Planting

The bridal wreath (or Spirea) comes from the family Rosaceae and from the cultivar Plena.

  • When planting this shrub, one must allow plenty of space around it so that the effect of its cascading growth habit can be fully appreciated.
  • It can commonly grow to be about 6 feet in height with a width of almost the same. Grown as a specimen plant it can be admired from every angle.
  • If grown as a hedge, just allow enough space between each plant so that it has a chance to grow and spread naturally.
  • Often, gardeners do not take the mature size of a plant into consideration when first planting the smaller sizes purchased in nurseries. The newly planted shrubs are then forced to compete for water, nutrients, and even enough circulating air to remain healthy.
  • This is a deciduous plant meaning that it loses its leaves in the wintertime.
  • It likes full sun but can tolerate partial shade as long as it gets at least 6 hours of sun daily.
  • When in glorious bloom in mid to late Spring, it attracts butterflies. What it does not attract is deer munching on its branches. This is good to know for people who are seeking shrubs and plants and who have deer regularly visiting their gardens.
  • Perhaps it is the salicylates that are contained within the branches of this shrub (an aspirin-like component) that repels the deer. Rabbits and other critters will also not be prone to chew on the bridal wreath branches.
  • What makes this plant really attractive is its hardiness.
  • It can tolerate every type of condition ranging from the windy seashore to hot and humid conditions such as are found in Houston in the summertime to drought conditions or even polluted areas.

Gardening Tips: Great Spireas for your garden

Bridal Wreath shrub
Bridal Wreath shrub | Source

Varieties of Spirea

There are many types of this kind of shrub including dwarf varieties which can blossom more than one time a year if pruned back after flowering.

The greatest variety of species can be found in eastern Asia. There are anywhere from 80 to 100 species of Spirea, also sometimes spelled Spiraea.

If your garden space does not allow one to plant a 6 foot specimen, there are other choices. There are low growing mounded varieties that also bloom in other colors and sport different colors of leaves.

In addition to the bridal wreath, some of the other varieties among which to choose in nurseries or online include the following:

  • Anthony Waterer
  • Daphne
  • Gold Flame
  • Magic Carpet
  • Little Princess
  • Lime Mound
  • Gold Mound
  • and there are others. The choices are many!

EnduroPRO Titanium Pruning Shears - Best Garden Shears, Tree Trimmer, Hand Pruner - Ideal Branch,Hedge, Shrub & Bush Clippers -Razor Sharp Bypass Secateurs Ergonomic Gardening Tool for Effortless Cuts
EnduroPRO Titanium Pruning Shears - Best Garden Shears, Tree Trimmer, Hand Pruner - Ideal Branch,Hedge, Shrub & Bush Clippers -Razor Sharp Bypass Secateurs Ergonomic Gardening Tool for Effortless Cuts

Every gardener needs a good clipper like this. I use mine to cut back the smaller branches of shrubs & trees. I also use mine to cut flowers such as roses.


Pruning Techniques

On the larger shrubs, some experts recommend pruning them back by 1/3rd after flowering every year.

Some of the smaller growing varieties are literally cut back to just above ground level each year.

This is a method called "stumping."

During the growing and blooming season with the smaller to medium varieties of spirea they can be pruned back with clippers or even a hedge trimmer and they will likely re-bloom possibly even several times if this is done regularly depending upon the variety.

Hopefully you enjoyed learning about the different varieties of this showy shrub which can be used in your home garden design when wanting a hardy but also beautiful flowering shrub.

If you are a bride getting married in the springtime of the year and wish to have a natural hair adornment, hold in your bouquet or have in flower arrangements, what could be more natural than the fragrant bridal wreath to make that special day even more memorable?

Bridal wreath shrub in our subdivision in glorious bloom.
Bridal wreath shrub in our subdivision in glorious bloom. | Source

Did you know about the bridal wreath plant or other types of spirea?

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© 2011 Peggy Woods

Comments are always welcomed.

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    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Rebecca,

      A bridal wreath shrub takes up quite a bit of space when full grown. I only see a few of them in our subdivision. Perhaps that is the reason you are not seeing them as frequently? At least you know what they are having grown up with them.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Au fait,

      The bridal wreath can certainly add interest to one's yard and it is especially pretty when festooned with those white flowers. We reached 89 degrees yesterday but with high humidity it felt warmer here in Houston. I was outside doing some yard work and was happy to get back inside and take a nice refreshing shower. Looking forward to the upcoming predicted rain this weekend as the ground where I was planting things was dry.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      We had one of these shrubs growing up. I haven't seen any in a while. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      This is a very helpful article for people wondering what they want to do to spruce up their yard by adding something new and how to do it, etc. Beautiful photos as always. Pinned to AH and shared on HP.

      Yes it has definitely warmed up here in North Texas. It's been just right most of the time. Wish it could remain between 60 and 70 degrees everyday. Been in the upper 80s and even got past 90 a couple of times already.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Au fait,

      Appreciate your pins. Hopefully you are starting to enjoy some spring weather in Texas although we are having another unusual cold front again tonight in mid-April. Crazy year weather wise!

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