Bridal Wreath Spirea Plant Profile

Spiraea prunifolia

Spiraea prunifolia/Flickr CC 2.0

The bridal wreath spirea is a medium-sized deciduous shrub that features sprays of little white flowers. If you like white flowers, use this to create a focal point in your garden. There is an abundance of flowers during the spring and will put on another show in the fall when the leaves change colors. As the name suggests, you could cut off part of a flowering branch to twine in your hair. It can also be used in floral arrangements.

It can become invasive in some parts of the eastern United States, so you may want to check with your local extension office agent before planting to make sure it will not be problematic. The bridal wreath spirea will attract butterflies. It's also well suited for areas where deer come to browse, as it is deer resistant. In addition to being a beautiful focal point, these shrubs can also be used to create borders or as a privacy screen.

  • Botanical Name: Spiraea prunifolia
  • Common Name: Spirea, Bridal wreath, Bridal veil spirea
  • Plant Type: Deciduous shrub
  • Mature Size: 4 to 8 feet high, 4 to 8 feet wide
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining soil
  • Soil pH: 7
  • Bloom Time: Early spring
  • Flower Color: White
  • Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9; zone 4 with protection during the winter
  • Native Areas: China, Korea, and Taiwan
Close up of young yellow, red and gold spiraea prunifolia var. gold flame (bridal wreath) foliage with rain drops
Stuart Blyth / Getty Images

How to Grow Bridal Wreath Spirea

This plant is an upright, clumping, deciduous shrub that is known for its arching branching. As it grows taller, it will often become somewhat open and leggy over time. The species name of prunifolia indicates that the leaves are similar to those of Prunus, which is another genus in that family that contains many of the familiar stone fruits like cherries, plums, and peaches.

In blooming season, bridal wreath spireas create an image of a cascading waterfall of white. The clusters of small white flowers bloom all the way down its arching branches. Each leaf is 1 to 3 inches long with an ovate or elliptical shape. The margins have many tiny serrations and the underside of the leaf is pubescent, meaning it is covered with soft hairs. In the fall the leaves will turn to hues of red, orange, and yellow. The small white flowers form in clusters called corymbs. Most shrubs feature double rows of petals unless you have the species shrub or a cultivar that only has a single row of petals. The fruit on this shrub is a small brown follicle.

There are no specific pest problems for the bridal wreath spirea. These shrubs can be susceptible to many of the diseases and insects that attack other similar family members. This includes leaf spot, fire blight, powdery mildew, root rot, aphids, leaf roller, and scale.

Light

This shrub will do best in a spot in your garden that receives full sun. It will tolerate part shade. If you are planting young bridal wreath spirea, make sure to provide plenty of room between the plants. They will grow and can block each other's light if too close together.

Water

Bridal wreath spirea prefer to grow in well-drained moist soil though it is able to withstand some periods of drought. Water the plants during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week.

Temperature and Humidity

This plant is quite hardy, surviving cold winter and hot summer temperatures. The ideal climate is within the hardiness zones. It does not have any humidity needs.

Fertilizer

Every spring, add a layer of compost under the shrub. Throughout the growing season, you can add a 2-inch layer of mulch around the plant. This will help to retain moisture and prevent weeds.

Propagating Bridal Wreath Spiraea

You can propagate new plants using cuttings or suckers. If you have the species shrub instead of a variety, you can use seed germination.

Varieties of Bridal Wreath Spiraea

  • The garland spirea (Spiraea x aguta) has smaller, more compact white flowers that bloom on thinner, longer branches.
  • The bumalda spireas (Spiraea x bumalda) has small pink flowers that grow in a similar style.

Pruning

You may find yourself needing to control some suckers that pop up if you do not want the plant to spread. Keeping your shrub healthy and happy will help control them to some degree. Alternatively, this can be a beneficial characteristic if you want to have mass plantings of the shrub in your garden since additional shrubs will form without further cost to you. Pruning may be needed if your bridal wreath spiraea starts spreading farther than you would like; do so right after the shrub finishing flowering. You can also use this as an informal hedge to create pathways and outdoor rooms.