Birchleaf spirea is a great small, rounded shrub, reaching 3 to 4 feet high. The early summer white flowers, dark green, birch-like leaves turn a kaleidoscope of red, orange, and purple fall color adding seasonal interest. Use for butterfly gardens and in the front of the shrub border. May be difficult to find in local nurseries.
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.
All Common Names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- Mixed border,
- Small shrub (3-5 feet),
- Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
- Zone 3,
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8,
- Zone 9
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Occasional drought,
- Alkaline soil,
- Clay soil
Season of Interest:
- Late spring,
- Early summer,
- Late summer,
- Early fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
Size & form
A rounded to mounded small shrub reaching 3 to 4 feet high and wide.
Tree & Plant Care
Best in full sun to part shade. Tolerant of wide range of soils, but prefers moist, well drained soil.
Flowers on new wood, so prune in early spring if needed.
Removing wilted flowers will promote more blooms
Shallow-rooted and benefits with a layer of organic mulch to conserve moisture.
Disease, pests, and problems
Leaf spots, mildew, aphids, scale
Native geographic location and habitat
NE Asia, and Japan
Found in open meadows, slopes and rocky areas
Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife
Birds and butterflies are attracted to flowers
Bark color and texture
Slender, brown, slightly peeling bark
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Alternate, 2 inch long, egg shaped to rounded birch-like leaves with toothed margins
Fall color is a kaleidoscope of orange, red, and purple.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Clusters (cormbs) of white, flat-topped flowers in mid-summer
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Dry follicle, not ornamental
Cultivars and their differences
Tor Birch-leaved Spirea (Spiraea betulifolia 'Tor'): A dense, compact rounded habit reaching 2 to 3 feet high. The dark green, birch-like leaves turn a orange, red, purple fall color.
First Edition®Pink Sparkler™ Birchleaf Spirea (Spiraea betifolia 'Courispi'): Rounded, 3 to 4 feet high and wide, pink flowers in spring and repeated in fall. Blue green leaves turn burgundy red.