The Spiraea Genus (Spirea)

The genus spiraea belongs to the rose plant family, and encompasses between 80 and 100 different species of ornamental shrubs.

These plants come from the temperate parts of the Northern Hemisphere, and are grown all over for their ornamental flowers.

Spiraea At A Glance

Most people refer to the plants under this genus as spirea, and you may also see the plants labeled as such when sold in nurseries and online for ease, but the correct name is spiraea.

You can recognize these plants by their fine foliage and bounties of flower heads, each one made up of miniscule, five-petaled blooms.

They flower in hues of ivory, white, yellow, pink, and purple, and while they will survive in partial shade, you’ll see the most flowers in a position of full sunlight.

Spiraea plants also attract plenty of pollinators into your garden, which benefits the health of not just the plants in your green space, but all the wildlife within, too.

Spiraea Name Origin

The genus name is derived from the Greek word for spire or wreath, speira, describing the way the flowers group in clusters.

Spirea Flower Symbolism

Spiraea flowers signify good health, good luck, prosperity, abundance, and wealth.

Depending on the context, they can also represent pushing past your limits, and succeeding against all the odds.

Spiraea Uses

Spiraea plants have had some historical medical uses over the years, to treat ailments such as stomach complaints.

It’s interesting to note that the word aspirin is derived from the German term for the genus spiraea, Spirsäure. 

One of the main ingredients of aspirin is Acetylsalicylic acid.

This is derived from salicylic acid, which comes from the plant Filipendula ulmaria, or meadowsweet, (originally called Spiraea ulmaria) which was originally under the spiraea genus.

Many species in the genus are used as ornamental plants, not only for their architectural form, but also for their gorgeous flowers, which can appear in spring or the middle of summer.

Spiraeas make great companion plants to other flowering shrubs and trees, providing a plethora of color to contrast against.

They look particularly beautiful against much larger flowers, providing a colorful backdrop and contrasting form.

It also helps that when these shrubs aren’t in bloom, they still provide plenty of form to any border or mixed garden bed.

Spiraea Growing Requirements

These versatile shrubs are hardy in USDA zones 3 through to 9, and depending on the species you go for, they will flower in spring and summer, or summer into fall.

The height of spiraea shrubs is dictated by the type you go for, and some can reach up to 10 feet tall, while others will be much smaller.

Spiraea plants aren’t fussy when it comes to soil, but there are two things they cannot stand: an alkaline pH above 7.0, and poor drainage.

Provide these shrubs with plenty of nutrients and drainage, staying away from alkaline soil, and they will flower for years to come.

They do well in full sunlight, and only need an average amount of water.

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