Spirea is a genus of over 80 woody shrubs in the Rosaceae (rose) family. All varieties of Spirea are deciduous, meaning that it will lose its leaves in the winter. Hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9, Spirea typically does not need special care to survive the cold weather season.
Deciduous shrubs will protect themselves by going dormant for the winter. Established shrubs do not require special protection from the elements; however, Spirea just planted in late summer or fall will need their roots protected from the cold.
Continue to water the newer shrubs until the ground freezes. After that, protect the new roots by adding a layer of mulch around the base of the plant. This will insulate the soil and protect the roots from a freeze/thaw cycle.
As with all woody shrubs and trees, you will want to check it occasionally for damaged bark caused by nibbling mice or rabbits. You can protect the shrub by tying the branches together and wrapping them with cloth fencing until spring arrives.
Cutting Back Spirea For Winter
In the fall, before the shrub goes dormant, you can prune your Spirea to prepare it for the winter months. After the foliage begins to fall off, cut off the lower stems to shape the shrub and keep a compact shape. Each stem can be cut within 8 to 12 inches from the ground. This will be beneficial if you happen to need to wrap the branches during the winter.
In late winter, you can prune to remove any dead or damaged wood. Check for any branches that cross each other and remove those as well. This will help to stimulate new growth in the spring.
Spirea Winter Care in Pots
Container grown Spirea should be pruned back and moved to a sheltered location for the cold weather season. This will prevent the plant from going through freeze and thaw cycles while it is dormant. The main thing you want to do is protect the roots from the freezing temperatures. An unheated space, such as a garage or a shed with a bit of light, is perfect.
Do not fertilize the plant during the winter months. Occasionally water the plant during the cold season, but do not keep it constantly wet.
Watering Spirea in Winter
Spirea shrubs planted in gardens do not need a lot of water to survive. In fact, it is better to under water it rather than over water it. In the late fall, give your Spirea a good soaking, being sure that the roots get a good drink. Once the ground freezes, you will not want to water any more. You can mulch around the base of the shrub to help preserve moisture in the soil.
If you have moved your potted Spirea to a basement or covered porch to overwinter, remember, the plant is dormant and will only need to be watered once or twice all season. If you bring your Spirea indoors to continue growing during the winter, then water it when the top 2 inches of soil is dry to the touch.
Growing Spirea Indoors
Spirea shrubs can be grown indoors during the cold weather months. You will want to prune the branches prior to bringing it indoors. Find a warm sunny spot for the container. Water the shrub weekly or when the top 2 inches of soil feels dry to the touch. Don’t expect a lot of blooming during this period of time, as the shrub typically goes dormant during the winter months.
Steps To Care For Spirea in Winter
Spirea is an easy to care for shrub that is hardy in zones 4-9. If left alone with no winter care, it would most likely survive and bloom in the spring. If you would like to give your shrub a little TLC for the cold weather season, follow these tips.
- Water well before the first freeze.
- Prune the shrub in the fall
- Wrap the branches to protect from nibbling animals.
- Mulch around the base of the shrub