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Vick, Albert F. W.
Spiraea tomentosa L.
Synonym(s): Spiraea tomentosa var. rosea, Spiraea tomentosa var. tomentosa
USDA Symbol: SPTO2
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
This mound-shaped, deciduous shrub forms a thicket of erect, slender, wand-like, unbranched stems, 3-6 ft. tall. Dense, erect, plumes of pink to rose-purple flowers occur terminally. The orange to reddish-brown bark is exfoliating and the fall foliage is yellow. An erect shrub with dense, steeple-shaped, branched clusters of pink flowers.
A similar species, the pink-flowered Japanese Spiraea (S. japonica) from Asia, differs from Steeplebush in having flat-topped clusters of flowers and smooth leaves; since its introduction into North America, it has invaded a broad area, from Ontario and Michigan east to Maine and south to Georgia, Tennessee, and Illinois.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Shrub Leaf:
Green Autumn Foliage:
Brown Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Red , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug , Sep
, WV Canada: NB
, QC Native Distribution:
N.S. & N.B. to Que. & e.c. MN,
s. to NC, MS
& AR Native Habitat:
Wet prairies & meadows; marshes; roadsides
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Wet, moderately acid, soils.
Conditions Comments: Steeplebush needs sun; it will dwindle in shade.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Intermediate.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Larval Host: Columbia silkmoth
PropagationDescription: Propagate by seed or softwood cuttings. Cuttings do not need a hormone treatment.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Seeds require no special treatment.
Commercially Avail: yes
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Native shrub to replace non-native azaleas.
February 10, 2009
I want to replace my two dozen azaleas this spring (I think they're unattractive once the flowers fall off). I like the multiseason characteristics of weigela (midnight wine, W&R), but want to go na...
view the full question and answer
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Suppliers Directory
According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
American Native Nursery
- Quakertown, PAPrairie Nursery
- Westfield, WI
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Mt. Cuba Center
- Hockessin, DE
Record Last Modified: 2012-12-09
Research By: TWC Staff