Spiraea tomentosa (Steeplebush)

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

This lovely resident of wet prairies, meadows, and marshes has multi- season interest with pink blooms, yellow fall foliage, and interesting bark. The tiny flowers on its spire-like flower plumes resemble those of invasive Japanese Spiraea, for which it is a good native* substitute.

*In the Mid-Atlantic Region, it is rare in the Piedmont and common in the Coastal Plain in DE. It is native to MD and concentrated in the eastern and western parts of PA. It is frequent to locally common in the Coastal Plain, rare in the Piedmont, and infrequent to locally common in the mountains in VA. It is not native to NoVA or DC.

Print Version (Legal Size): Spiraea tomentosa (Steeplebush)
Shrub Height: 2–4 feet Spread: 3–5 feet Bloom Color: Pink Characteristics Mound-shaped deciduous shrub with erect, wand-like stems and exfoliating reddish bark Elliptic to ovate, coarsely-toothed, green leaves with woolly hairs on undersides; yellow fall color Dense, 4–8 inch, terminal plumes of tiny pink to rose-purple flowers from July to September Small brown ovoid seed follicles September to March Spreads by suckers to form colonies Attributes Tolerates erosion and light shade No serious pests or diseases Deer seldom severely damage Medicinal use by Native Americans Bees, flies, and beetles seek abundant pollen; larval host for Spring/Summer Azure butterfly and some moth species Growing and Maintenance Tips Soil Requirements: Moderately acidic Light Requirements: Sun, Partial Shade Water Requirements: Moist, Wet Deadhead to encourage additional blooming Prune in late winter to early spring, if needed Use in rain gardens, pond edges, or as a hedge Hardiness: USDA Zones 3–8 Excellent Replacement for Spiraea japonica - Japanese Spiraea *In the Mid-Atlantic Region, it is rare in the Piedmont and common in the Coastal Plain in DE. It is native to MD and concentrated in the eastern and western parts of PA. It is frequent to locally common in the Coastal Plain, rare in the Piedmont, and infrequent to locally common in the mountains in VA. It is not native to NoVA or DC.
Learn more about other Mid-Atlantic plants: Tried and True Plant Fact Sheets