Plants to Love: Neon Flash Spirea (Spirea ‘Neon Flash’)

by Genevieve on August 11, 2010

Post image for Plants to Love: Neon Flash Spirea (Spirea ‘Neon Flash’)

Spirea ‘Neon Flash’ (USDA Zones 4-9) is a Bright! Magenta! Pink! flowering shrub to about 4’ tall, which loves full sun and blooms off and on throughout the summer. It does lose its leaves in winter and gets a bit of reddish-yellow fall color, but the fall color isn’t anything to rave about.

I love the fine texture of the leaves, the neat, compact habit, and the Bright! Pink! flowers. This is an easy Spirea to care for so long as it has reasonably good drainage, an application of organic fertilizer in spring and regular water. It can sometimes get a bit of powdery mildew around the blooms if it is unhappy, but overall it is a sturdy, easy-care plant that gives a lot more back than it asks from us.

I make sure to deadhead it promptly to encourage rebloom, and sometimes I’ll get three blooms in one season from it – a good six months of color. If you’re keeping up with things often, just prune out the individual flowerheads as they go brown and leave the new buds to bloom. If you’re a more casual gardener, just wait until the whole thing is done blooming, then cut the entire flowering stem down into the rest of the foliage so you don’t notice the cut stems. It will rebloom for you soon!

Deer-resistant but not 100% deer-proof, I love this Spirea with Hebes, Salvia leucantha/ Mexican Bush Sage, ornamental grasses, and that wild tropical-looking Alstroemeria ‘Third Harmonic’ shown in the photo.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle's Green Thumb August 11, 2010 at 8:04 am

Thanks for posting this! I’ve been wondering what it is that I was given last year & it’s just now starting to bloom & yes, it is a fabulous plant!

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Genevieve August 11, 2010 at 8:08 am

Yay! There’s also Anthony Waterer which has slightly paler foliage (very slightly), slightly redder flowers (very slightly) and gets slightly bigger (slightly). They’re pretty near identical, really. You can see them both on Monrovia’s website if you want to do a comparison.

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Michelle's Green Thumb August 11, 2010 at 9:23 am

I have a dwarf 3-in-1 spriea that’s a few years old – has white, pale pink & dark pink flowers all on the same stalk – but it’s quickly becoming ‘un-dwarf-like’ & will need a good prune this fall. I hope that in doing so, I don’t cause the plant to revert back to only one colour – the 3 together are a great interest point. Might root up the cuttings to spread around town too…

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Genevieve August 11, 2010 at 9:35 am

What? Whoa! I have never seen a three in one spirea before. That is super-cool!

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Debbie August 12, 2010 at 3:55 am

Gen, Spireas are some of my favorite shrubs for the exact reasons you mentioned – easy to care for and happy to re-bloom if you take the time to deadhead. I have several Anthony Waterer spireas and they do look very similiar to Neon Flash. In my garden AW leaves typically have a more yellow tinge to them.

I’m wondering if the spirea Michelle is talking about is Shirobona. I have a few of those too and at times the flowers are several different colors. Mine are growing in a fair amount of shade so I don’t think that feature is as prominent as it would be with more sun. I’ve been thinking about transplanting them to see if they’ll be more showy with more sun. I guess I’ll add that to the ‘to-do’ list!

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Terrie September 7, 2010 at 9:17 am

I have a 3-in-1 Spirea in my front flower bed. It only gets sun in the morning until about 1:00. I am seeing that they need full sun though. The flowers I am seeing on it are more of the lighter, white and pink ones, not so many of the dark pink. Does this indicate that it’s not getting enough sun? Do you think it will be ok in this place? Also, do I need to prune the lower branches in the fall to get it growing taller? It’s only about 12-18 inches tall so far.

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Genevieve September 7, 2010 at 9:47 am

Hi Terrie, that 3 in 1 is a new plant to me, but if I had to guess I’d say the 3 in 1 effect is caused by a different color in each stage of flower, so maybe they bud and open white, fade to pale and then dark pink. So yeah, if you weren’t getting the dark color, it might be that they’re fading too quick due to lack of light. Wild guess.

I wouldn’t prune it to encourage growth. Good compost, water, mulch, and possibly an organic fertilizer in spring and summer should do that trick. First year they sleep, second year they creep, third year they leap. Just give it time!

I personally would scoot it to where it gets full sun, myself. Morning sun isn’t usually good enough for good growth and bloom.

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