Vanhouttei Spirea (Spiraea x vanhouttei)

Vanhouttei Spirea

  • Tiny White Flowers on Arching Branches
  • Beloved Variety in High Demand
  • Beautiful, Blue-Green Foliage
  • Graceful Arching Habit
  • Wonderful as an Informal Hedge
  • Easy-Care
  • Fast-Growing
  • Butterfly Magnet
  • Widely Adapted to a Wide Range of Soils
  • May Be Pruned to Any Size
  • Deer Tend to Leave It Alone
  • Also Known as Vanhoutte Spirea and Spiraea Vanhouttei

One of the most requested shrubs we offer, the Vanhouttei Spirea (Spiraea x vanhouttei) is also known as Bridal Wreath. It’s truly a charming addition to the landscape, with graceful cascading limbs that arch up and out like a fountain.

You’ll be amazed at the spring show when every branch is liberally frosted with white bloom clusters. The display lasts a long time and resembles a spring bride’s veil.

This special plant is a cross between the Spiraea trilobata x s cantoniensis. The flower clusters are 1-2″ diameter umbels. The lovely white flowers form along the branch and branchlet tips. They seem to float above the fine-textured leaves!

You simply have to see it to believe it. This shrub is definitely a superstar to wrap up the early spring. Underplant it with spring bulbs and spring-blooming perennials to create a precious welcome to the new growing season.

You’ll love the sophisticated shape all year long. It looks great with its delicate summer leaves, and even in winter, the sparkling frost coats the arching branches in a stunning display.

How to Use Vanhouttei Spirea in the Landscape

There are many ways to use this shrub, but we highly recommend that you give it enough room to spread to its full width. This vase-shaped plant with its cascading habit is a beautiful addition to any landscape situation. You’d hate to lose the dramatic charm of the arched form.

You may have seen them crammed into too-tight foundation plantings. When you need to shear them for size control, you miss out on a lot of the appeal of this vase-shaped deciduous shrub.

Why not give Vanhouttei Spirea the room it needs to gain full mature size? It makes a wonderful screen along a fence line or near your patio. Plant a row of them 4 feet apart on center, measuring from the center of one to the center of the next.

No one said a hedge has to be stick straight, after all! The organic form of these lovely plants begs for a modern interpretation in the landscape. Gently curve that row as you like to follow the contours of your landscape.

Try 3, 5 or 7 of them planted in a loose triangle or zig-zag along the length of a garden bed or berm planting. Add a garden sculpture and you’ll have a magnificent focal point.

Play with contrasting textures, if you crave a modern look. Go extreme by partnering with the sculptural form of Yucca, or plant fine-textured Spirea on the sunny side of a stiff Blue Spruce. Pair it with an upright columnar evergreen like Blue Arrow Juniper, and mirror that form with a few Karl Foerster Grasses.

Or, let your romantic side out with Shrub Landscape Roses and smaller Goldflame Spirea. Add Groundcover plants at their feet for a lush style that blooms from spring through fall.

Try a single specimen at the corner of your foundation to anchor the planting. Plant it at least 8 feet away from your house. Allow it to spread out for the best results!

When out of bloom, Vanhouttei Spirea is a large shrub with a clean delicate look. This is a taller selection best used as a border plant, or to add a bold texture to the background of the garden or the outside parameter of a sunny woodland garden.

When left to naturalize, the branches arch to the ground and make an open, airy mounded habit. It adds an architectural feature to the landscape.

This low maintenance plant is very desirable in commercial landscapes, where it can be massed to fill large open areas. Plant in a zig-zag pattern 3 – 4 feet on center.

In cold zones, the foliage turns a purplish-green before going dormant in the winter.

Tips for Care

Adapted to a wide range of soil types and USDA Plant Hardiness Zones, the Bridal Wreath Spirea has become the backbone of landscapes throughout the country.

Vanhouttei Spirea is a durable workhorse in the landscape. Because of its low maintenance, it is often used in commercial plantings where it is allowed to grow naturally. People hunt for it, as it’s most similar to the old-fashioned variety grown by Grandma.

Give it a location in full sun and well-drained soils. It will tolerate a wide range of soil types including some salt tolerance.

The plant thrives in a pH of 3.7 to 7, and by adding aluminum sulfate to a high pH soil location you can help to adjust the pH down quickly. Then a yearly application of soil Sulphur can help to maintain the lower pH in these areas.

Once established, the plant is extremely tough. It is drought tolerant in cold winter areas. In warmer Zones, it requires infrequent but regular water and will benefit from extra water during heat spikes and extended hot periods.

Mulch the root system to 3 to 4 inches deep out to 3 feet outside of the canopy of the plant to keep roots cool and cut down on surface evaporation.

It can be pruned to any size or left to grow into a mounding shrub. The best time to prune is right after flowering in the spring. Cut back the plant to the size required and leave it until the next season.

Vanhouttei Spirea (Spiraea x vanhouttei) Details

Common name Vanhouttei Spirea
Botanical name Spiraea x vanhouttei
Hardiness zone 4-8
Growth rate Fast
Height 6 - 8 ft.
Width 4 - 6 ft.
Sunlight Full Sun
Moisture Medium, Low
Soil condition Well Drained
Pollinator-friendly Yes
Flower color White
Leaf color Deciduous