Content Detail

Korean spirea, also known as Fritsch’s spirea, is a compact, upright-to-mounded shrub with excellent clusters of white, flat-topped flowers and dark green summer foliage. Foliage turns an orange-red fall color. This species is closely related to birchleaf spirea. It may be difficult to find in the nursery trade.

  • Family (English) Rose
  • Family (botanic) Rosaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Small shrub (3-5 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil
  • Season of interest late spring, early summer, early fall, mid fall
  • Flower color and fragrance White
  • Shape or form Mounded, Round
  • Growth rate Moderate

Native geographic location and habitat:

Native to China and Korea and found on cliffs, slopes and rocky areas.

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife:

Flowers attract butterflies and bees.

Bark color and texture:

Stems are reddish gray.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

Leaves are alternate, elliptical to oblong, and up to 3 inches long, with toothed margins. Dark green foliage turns attractive shades of orange and red in the fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Flat-topped, 3 to 5 inch diameter clusters (corymbs) of tiny white flowers appear in early summer.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Seed is a dry dehiscent follicle which is not showy.

Plant care:

Korean spirea grows best in full sun and well-drained soil. It flowers on old wood, so any  pruning should be done soon after flowering. Shallow roots benefit from a layer of organic mulch to moderate temperature fluctuations.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

Susceptible to leaf spots, mildew, and root rots in wet soils. It is resistant to deer.

Pink-a-licious™ Korean spirea (Spiraea fritschiana ‘JN Select’):

A 2 to 3 feet high and wide cultivar with purplish-pink, flat-topped flower clusters in June. Fall color is a combination of yellow, pink, chartreuse, and orange.

Pink Parasols® Korean spirea (Spiraea fritschiana ‘Wilma’):

A  2 to 3 foot high cultivar with pink flowers and blue-green leaves that turn yellow, red, and orange in fall.


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