The Flowering Bridal Wreath or Spirea Bush in Garden Landscaping
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.
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.
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 six 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
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
- Gold Flame
- Magic Carpet
- Little Princess
- Lime Mound
- Gold Mound
- and there are others. The choices are many!
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.
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.
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?
Did You Know About the Bridal Wreath Plant or Other Types of Spirea?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
I recently moved into a home that has bridal wreath along one side of the property line, approximately 20' worth. Unfortunately, it was never properly taken care of & it's very large & scraggly. I would like to trim it back, but I'm not sure how far to take it back without destroying the plant. How can I trim back our bridal wreath to a more manageable size?
The good news is that spireas can be cut back severely, even just above ground level, and they rebound. Cut branches at a 45-degree angle with clean pruning shears or a saw if the branches are large. However, depending upon where you live, you might wish to wait until after next year's blooming period to do that. If you live in a cold climate, the new growth that comes from a pruning needs to harden off before freezing weather.
You could probably safely cut it back by a third right now no matter where you live and it would not kill the plant. You would also enjoy the flowers next year. Buds form on old wood from the previous year. So it is your choice.
What is the best variety of the Large Bridal Wreath for use as a hedge?
Almost any full-sized bridal wreath shrub will work as a hedge if planted close enough together to function as a hedge. Be sure to trim the hedge shortly after blooming. If you do it later in the year, you will be cutting off what will blossom the following year.
If you have a local botanical garden, often the plants in them are what grows best in your area. You could also check with a master gardener in your locale to see what grows best. Some good nurseries have trained people who can also assist you.
I did not see the width needed for a bridal wreath plant. I just planted it in a large container. Should I take it out and put it in the ground now or later?
Spirea shrubs can grow to be as wide as they are tall. It depends upon the type of spirea you have as to how large it will ultimately become. Some of the smaller varieties grow to a height of around three feet while others top out at approximately ten feet. When you plant it in the ground give it plenty of room for those wide-arching branches to spread out and show off their pretty flowers each spring season.Helpful 5
Do bridal wreath stay in bloom all summer?
Bridal wreath shrubs bloom for quite some time but not all summer long.Helpful 2
My bridal wreath stopped blooming, so we cut them back very low, and it’s been almost two blooming seasons, and they have done nothing: They are probably 20+ years old. Do I need to replace them?
Sometimes that is the best answer. There is a term limit to all living things. We had to do that with some of our older shrubs when they were not performing as expected. If you know that your soil and all other ingredients such as good drainage, the right amount of sun/shade, moisture, and nourishment are correct, then perhaps it is time to retire the old and bring in the new.Helpful 9
© 2011 Peggy Woods