My grandmother had a couple large bushes of Bridal Veil Spiraea (Spiraea X vanhouttei) and when I would go to her house and visit. We would play for hours together and decorated the "Fairy Princess" and her faithful subjects, which was me.
   Grandma would make crowns for my hair and grouped them together with other flowers like the pretty verigated Hosta leaves for me to carry. I loved the smell of the flowers and I was thrilled to find out these did not effect my horrible hay fever.
    Spiraea (Meadowsweet, ) is a genus of over 80 different species of shrubs belonging to Rosaceae, subfamily Spiraeoideae. Larvae of Lepidoptera species like Brown-tail, Emperor Moth, Grey Dagger, Hypercompe indecisa and Setaceous Hebrew Character just love their delicious host Spiraea.
    Spiraea species and hybrids are easy to grow, water and full sun to help them flower their best. They can be planted in the spring or if you missed spring you can plant them in the fall. Young plants need moisture until they are established but as they get older they are excellent for water-conserving landscaping.
   The most common Spiraea in cultivation is the Bridal Veil Spiraea (Spiraea X vanhouttei), growing up to ten feet tall and twenty feet wide. Their arching branches burst with tiny white flowers in the spring; hey made the prettiest crowns.
   The upright species bloom in the summer and needs to be pruned after blooming. Spiraea that flower in the summer needs to be pruned late winter or early spring.
   Does your friends have a Spiraea you like? My Father took some cuttings from grandma’s and planted them in our yard. Just take cuttings of green tip shoots in late spring and summer. 
   With over a 100 species in the genus Spiraea to choose from I am sure you will find the right one for your garden. You can find them in white, red, yellow and pink. Read the labels carefully so you don’t plant a bush you want to grow 8 ft and end up with one that grows 20ft’.
   One frequently cultivated favorite is Reeves Spiraea (Spiraea cantoniensis): the double white flowers on this small shrub are breathtaking. This shrub will keep its leaves in the winter in warm climates.
   Wild Spiraea species have a long history of medicinal use by Native Americans as herbal teas. The plants contains methyl salicilate, which unlike the chemically related Aspirin is effective in treating stomach disorders in minute amounts without the possible side effects of the synthetic peparate. Its salicylates are highly effective as analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and fever reducer agents.
   Its bacteriostatic properties were exploited by the Blackfeet Indians using exetrnally (!!!) these, in large amounts highly toxic salycilates as enema and vagina douches to treat infections of the bowels and the vaginal area.
   In modern times biologically active compounds present in Spiraeas are used in very small amounts as additives to certain chewing gum brands.
   Be aware: Some nurseries use the common name ‘spiraea’ for varieties of Caryopteris. This is a completely different group of shrubs - for example C. mastacanthus is a small shrub with grayish foliage. The most often cultivated form has purple flowers but there is a white variety, too.
   The hybrid Caryopteris X clandonensis (C. incana X C. mongholica) is commonly grown: there are several cultivars, including ‘Blue Mist’, ‘Heavenly Blue’, ‘Longwood Blue’ and ‘Dark Knight’.
   Another point to note is that Caryopteris species and hybrids are not as hardy as your old favorite Spiraea is, their stems may die back during hard winters.
Over 100 different vatrities of live bushes!
Park Seed Hardiness Zones



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