Content Detail

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

  • Family (English) Rose
  • Family (botanic) Rosaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Medium shrub (5-8 feet), Small shrub (3-5 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 fall, early summer, late summer, midsummer
  • Flower color and fragrance White
  • Shape or form Arching, Mounded, Multi-stemmed, Vase-shaped
  • Growth rate Moderate

Size and form:

A three to five 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 or corymbs that appear in late May.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Fruit is a dry follicle, brown, 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 after flowering. Older shrubs can be cut to ground to rejuvenate.

List of pests, diseases and tolerances: It can be susceptible to leaf spots, mildews, and root rot.

Snowmound Nippon Spirea (Spiraea nipponica ‘Snowmound’):

A three to five feet high and four to six feet wide cultivar. It is vase-shaped with arching stems, blue-green leaves that turn yellow in fall. It is drought tolerant.

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

Improved Snowmound spirea, with pure white flowers and dark blue-green foliage.


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