I take it for granted. My Spirea bumalda 'Anthony Waterer' has been blooming since May, and the lacy flowers provide a lovely splash of color beside my patio.
Spirea is an old-fashioned plant, beloved by generations of gardeners. There are over eighty species of spirea, commonly called meadowsweet, and there are hundreds of varieties. They are all tough members of the rose family. They will grow in a range of soil types and, once established, are very draught tolerant. They need full sun to bloom best but will tolerate partial shade. The yellow leafed varieties, such as goldmound spirea, will bloom with less sun. All spireas should be spaced so they can spread their branches freely, and they appreciate a balanced fertilizer once a year.
Older spireas can be rejuvenated by pruning out the older branches. Spring flowering varieties should be pruned right after flowering. Summer bloomers, like my Anthony Waterer, bloom on new wood and should be pruned in early spring before new growth starts.
This photo shows Anthony Waterer, on the left, just as flower buds are forming in April. The flowering shrub on the right is a knockout rose, another low maintenance shrub.
Spirea will grow in zones 5-9. It grows rapidly to two to nine feet, depending on the variety. Anthony Waterer grows to about three feet tall by four feet wide. It is deciduous and has light green, toothed leaves that turn reddish gold in the fall. Spirea looks great with evergreens. Mine are planted in companion to blue juniper, azaleas and rosemary, as well as the knockout rose growing in that area. The following scenes show Anthony Waterer during fall and again in May.
My Anthony Waterers provide year round interest and have done a great job covering a large portion of the slope beside my patio. They also attract butterflies, which I love. Anyone seeking to plant a low maintenance garden should consider one of the many varieties of spirea.