Plants to Love: Snowmound Spirea (Spirea x nipponica ‘Snowmound’)

‘Snowmound’ Spirea (USDA Zones 4-9) is a lovely thing, with deep green leaves, reddish stems, a graceful arching habit and rounded form. It loses its leaves, but doesn’t make a mess about it, and the white flowers in spring make you forget that you missed it all winter.

‘ Snowmound’ needs full sun to do its best, but is otherwise fairly unfussy, getting to 5’ or more in time without pruning (I usually keep mine pruned to about 4.5’ with great results). The deer seem to leave it alone, but deer vary everywhere, so plant with caution.

After it blooms, it shoots out with a lot of new foliage growth that doesn’t really do much for me (it’s kind of a messy shape), so I cut the biggest stems out in June or so to keep the plant from getting to an unruly size. If the plant’s still larger than I’d like, I selectively prune out a few older branches throughout the shrub, taking the stems down beneath the rest of the foliage so you can’t see any cut stems. Those cut stems will often regenerate with fresh new growth.

I like ‘Snowmound’ with Hebe ‘Wiri Blush’, Loropetalum ‘Razzleberri’, and other dignified plants that have a neat habit and some showy color. Spirea ‘Snowmound’ has a very similar tone of foliage to Chondropetalum tectorum, the evergreen Cape Rush, so they look good within the same garden areas to repeat the color but bring a different shape to things.

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