Ubiquitous in gardens, Japanese spirea is a small upright hardy deciduous shrub native to eastern Asia. The bright cerise flowers of the cultivar ‘Neon Flash’ are among the showiest of the Japanese spirea tribe. They appear in flat clusters from early to late summer. This dense, mounded, waist-high shrub has toothed, oval, medium-green leaves that are purple-tinged when new.
Succeeding in a wide range of soils in sun or light shade, Japanese spirea is a highly versatile ornamental shrub that works well in mass plantings, mixed borders, and low informal hedges. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage prolonged secondary bloom and to prevent self-sowing. Prune back plants to a hand’s-breadth and remove weak and dead stems in early spring to promote strong healthy new growth and larger more abundant flower heads. Japanese spirea often self-sows prolifically and is considered invasive in some regions.
Plant in spring or fall. Space plants 2 to 15 feet apart, depending on the expected mature size of the plant. Dig a hole only as deep as the root ball and 2 to 3 times as wide. If your soil is in very poor condition, amend the soil you’ve removed from the hole with a small amount of compost. Otherwise don’t amend it at all. Carefully remove the plant from the container and set it in the hole. Fill in around the root ball with soil until the hole is about half filled. Then firm the soil and water thoroughly. Fill the hole with the remaining soil and water again. Form a raised ridge of soil around the perimeter of the hole so it acts like a berm to help hold in water.
Apply a layer of compost under the tree each spring, spreading it out to the dripline (the area under the outermost branches). Add a 2-inch layer of mulch to retain moisture and control weeds. Water plants during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week. Deadheading spent flowers will sometimes induce a second flowering. Most spireas can be pruned after flowering to reduce height and maintain the desired shape. However, Japanese and bumald spireas should be pruned in early spring to promote the best flowering. Remove dead, diseased, and broken branches anytime. Spireas can be severely pruned and will grow and flower again.
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Green, Dark Green