Content Detail

Nippon spirea is a beautiful, compact shrub reaching 3 to 5 feet tall with graceful spreading branches and clusters of white flowers in mid-to-late spring. Plant at the back of the border or use as a specimen plant.

  • 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), Medium shrub (5-8 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7
  • Soil preference Alkaline soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, clay soil, Dry sites
  • Season of interest early summer, midsummer, late summer, early fall
  • Flower color and fragrance White
  • Shape or form Arching, Mounded, Multi-stemmed, Vase-shaped
  • Growth rate Moderate

Size and form:

Nippon spirea is a 3 to 5 feet high and wide shrub with a vase-shaped habit and arching stems. It is an improved replacement for bridal wreath spirea.

Native geographic location and habitat:

It is native to Japan.

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife:

It attracts butterflies and bees.

Bark color and texture:

Nippon spirea has reddish, thin stems.

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

The small leaves are dark blue-green.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

It has dome-shaped clusters of small white flowers (corymbs) that appear in late May.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Fruit is a brown, dry follicle, but is not ornamentally important.

Plant care:

Nippon spirea prefers full sun in moist, fertile, well-drained soil. Since it flowers on old wood, pruning should be done soon after flowering. Older shrubs can be cut to the ground to rejuvenate them.

List of pests, diseases and tolerances:

It can be susceptible to leaf spots, mildews, and root rot.

Snowmound Nippon spirea (Spiraea nipponica ‘Snowmound’):

A 3 to 5 feet high and 4 to 6 feet wide cultivar. It is vase-shaped with arching stems and blue-green leaves that turn yellow in fall. It is drought tolerant.

Wedding Cake™ Nippon spirea (Spiraea nipponica ‘SMNSNFD’):

An improved snowmound spirea, with pure white flowers and dark blue-green foliage.


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