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Spiraea x vanhouttei
Vanhoutte spirea

Culture: A very adaptable species, this plant flowers and performs best like other spireas in full sun with well-drained soils. Although the plants will grow with some shade, they flower best in sunny locations. They are fibrous rooted and easy to transplant. Occasional pruning to remove the oldest branches to the ground can be undertaken after flowering to keep the plants looking their best. If necessary, entire plants can be cut within a few inches of the ground and they will come back nicely. Even if no pruning is done at all, this species generally maintains a nice habit and outstanding flowering display. The renewal pruning is especially helpful to keep the size of the plant on the smaller side. A common problem seen in many landscapes is that this species often gets larger than the homeowner anticipated, thus requiring pruning. Reduction in height by shearing should be avoided as this spoils the beautiful arching habit and produces stiff-looking plants that flower poorly.

Aphids are the most likely problem on this species with occasional problems from powdery mildew if air circulation is poor. Neither of these are serious. Occasionally a leaf spot can be troubling but is treatable.

Usage: The Vanhoutte spirea makes an excellent specimen plant and is also useful in the back of the shrub border, in masses or even as a large unsheared hedge. A dwarf selection, 'Compacta' a useful plant for its smaller size is often difficult to find in the trade. 'Renaissance', a selection with mildew and rust resistant foliage from Bailey Nurseries, is becoming more available in the trade.

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