Magic Spirea: Small, Enchanting Beauty

Authored by Sheldon Falk - Owner
Apr 16th, 2024
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This is a small spirea by all standards. It only stands 12 to 15 inches tall. It is a 3rd generation seedling of the Goldflame spirea. It is smaller than the grandparent plant, more compact and has a little more vibrance in the leaf color. This family of spirea originates in Japan, Northern China and Korea. Its low, wide structure is useful when choosing plants for areas in front of low windows or in front of taller shrubs as a terracing step.

The hardiness is fairly good in a sheltered yard. There will likely be challenges growing them in wind tunnels near the outer edge of a corner of a building. They love the sun and are drought tolerant once established.

The appeal for these little shrubs is mostly for the leaf texture and color. They start off reddish burgundy with gold hints in the spring. They lean towards more gold then red in later spring and then into nearly lime green with glints of burgundy in summer. Fall comes around and they will turn into a burgundy orange red mix. The flowers should not be underestimated as they do bloom for as long as 3 weeks! The advantage of trimming them into form in early spring is that the seed pods are gone sooner from the previous year, but they also will give you a denser plant with more flowers. Another trim right after they’ve finished blooming will give you a second flush of less, but still significant blooms in late July or early August.

In our climate they will produce seeds, but not have an ideal environment to germinate. It is not an aggressive plant here – suckering is usually non-existent or low. The lack of snow cover in a harsh year could kill some roots and take some of the stems off, but because they stay so short, trimming them will often rejuvenate them even after some damage. We recommend not trimming them until spring though. The slightly taller branches seed pods will trap a bit more, protecting the roots.

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