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Spiraea alba

Phonetic Spelling
spy-REE-ah AL-ba
Description

Meadowsweet is a native deciduous shrub in the Roseaceae (rose) family that is typically found in the eastern portion of North America including North Carolina. It  grows naturally in bogs, swamps, wet meadows, along stream banks, and shore areas. Boasting fragrant flowers and a beautiful yellow fall color.

Growing in both full sun and part shade, however to grow at its best, locate this plant in full sun.  It is sensitive to heat and does not perform well in dry conditions. 

Its young branches are green and hairless.  As the branches age, they become brown and woody.  Its upper side of the foliage is medium green, while the underside is a pale green.  

It 1/4" flowers bloom from the top downward.  Flowers have 5 petals and many long stamens that surround a center ring.  The ring ranges in color from orange to pink to yellow.  Long stamens are fuzzy in appearance.  Removing flower clusters after they are finished blooming will promote additional blooms.  Pruning can be accomplished in the winter months.  

This shrub is a larval host as well a nectar source for a variety of pollinators so is at home in a children's, cottage, or rain garden.  It works well mass planted in a border, used as a hedge, or planted along a walkway or lawn.  Use it as an accent plant near a patio or pond and enjoy the showy fragrant blooms all summer.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Typically disease and insect free.  Some issues affecting meadowsweet are leaf spot, aphids, scale, powdery mildew, and fireblight.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#rain garden#white flowers#shrub#wildlife plant#pink flowers#moths#deciduous shrub#native shrub#woody#cottage garden#hedges#NC native#woody shrub#deer resistant#children's garden#colonies#pollinator plant#naturalized area#larval host plant#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#Coastal FACW#Piedmont Mountains FACW#wet soils tolerant#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#mammals#butterfly friendly#moth larvae#bee friendly#Audubon#dry soils intolerant#heat intolerant#colonizing#shrub borders#perennial#butterflies#butterfly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#rain garden#white flowers#shrub#wildlife plant#pink flowers#moths#deciduous shrub#native shrub#woody#cottage garden#hedges#NC native#woody shrub#deer resistant#children's garden#colonies#pollinator plant#naturalized area#larval host plant#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#Coastal FACW#Piedmont Mountains FACW#wet soils tolerant#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#mammals#butterfly friendly#moth larvae#bee friendly#Audubon#dry soils intolerant#heat intolerant#colonizing#shrub borders#perennial#butterflies#butterfly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Spiraea
    Species:
    alba
    Family:
    Rosaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern and midwestern North America
    Distribution:
    CT, DC, DE, IA, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, NC, ND, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SD, TN, VA, VT, WI, WV
    Wildlife Value:
    Larval host plant to the Spring Azure (Celastrina "ladon") butterfly.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Buffer
    Easy to Grow
    Fragrance
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Erect
    Mounding
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7b, 7a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Follicle
    Fruit Description:
    The brown fruits each contain 5 pod-shaped follicles. As they dry out, they will split open and the seeds are disbursed. Each follicle contains one seed.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Spike
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The tiny, 1/4", white or pale pink flowers are arranged around a central stem in a pyramidal or cone-shaped cluster of up to 4" long. Flowers bloom from June-September.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblong
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Green-yellow, thin, oblong leaves turn yellow in the fall. The underside may have sparse hairs.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Smooth, erect, fine textured, and sparsely branched. Plants can have many stems. They range in color from dull brown to reddish.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Naturalized Area
    Patio
    Pond
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rain Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Hedge
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Diseases
    Insect Pests
    Wet Soil