TREES & plants

First Snow ® Spirea

First Snow ® Spirea  is an outstanding early season bloomer for the shrub border, informal hedge, or as a backdrop for early spring perennials and bulbs. The white fragrant blooms emerging before the foliage on graceful, arching stems. Light green foliage remains dense to the base of the plant.

Botanical name: 
Spiraea x cinerea 'Grefsheim'
All Common Names: 
First Snow spirea, Grefsheim spirea
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Shrub
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
Growth Rate: 
  • Fast
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Occasional drought
  • Alkaline soil
Soil Preference: 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • White
Size Range: 
  • Medium shrub (5-8 feet)
Shape or Form: 
  • Arching
  • Upright
  • Weeping
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen
  • Massing
  • Hedge
  • Foundation
  • Mixed border
  • Screen
  • Patio/sidewalk
Time of Year: 
  • Early spring
More Information: 

Size & Form

5 to 6 feet high and wide, graceful, dense shrub with arching stems.
A hybrid of Norwegian origin.

Tree & Plant Care

Watering regularly  during the first growing season to establish a deep, extensive root system.
Feed with a general purpose fertilizer before new growth begins in spring.
Prune in spring after flowering. For a formal appearance, shear annually after flowering.

Disease, pests, and problems

None serious

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife

Butterflies love the flowers.
It is not particularly attractive to deer who tend to leave it alone.

Bark color and texture 

The smooth brown bark is not particularly outstanding.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Alternate, small 1 inch long, narrow  sea-green elliptical leaves turn a coppery-bronze in the fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Small clusters of white flowers appear up and down the arching stems before the leaves

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

The fruit is not ornamentally significant.