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Spiraea tomentosa

Spiraea tomentosa

Regular price $34.99 USD
Regular price Sale price $34.99 USD
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Sun/shade: Full sun to part shade

Soil moisture: Medium to wet

Height: 2-5'

Spread: 2-4'

Flowering period: July to September

Host plant for 68 caterpillar species

Steeplebush’s tapering, feathery flower clusters bring a beautiful pink blush to the home landscape in midsummer, charming passers-by and pollinators alike. Relying on pollen production as its primary reward for pollinators, steeplebush attracts bees, flies, and beetles (8), and is recognized by The Xerces Society for its importance to native bees (15). Along with wild bergamot, sumac, elderberry, rose, and blackberry species, steeplebush is a preferred nesting plant for small carpenter bees, which excavate pith from the plant’s stems in the spring to create a series of cells for larval development (75,12,35).

Attaining a height of 2-4’, steeplebush is a shrub whose numerous stems grow from a shared base but tend not to branch (8). The plant commonly spreads through underground lateral growth, sending up additional stems and forming colonies (61). Due to its woody growth form, steeplebush is unlikely to be displaced by nonwoody wildflowers in the pollinator garden as long as its preferred growing conditions are met: full sun exposure and soil of wet to average moisture (61). In addition to planting in the pollinator garden, steeplebush can be utilized as a border or standalone shrub. Blooming for approximately 1-2 months beginning in midsummer (8), steeplebush adds to the color palette of other midsummer bloomers that appreciate similar growing conditions. These plants include fringed loosestrife, dense blazing star, swamp milkweed, and Virginia mountain mint, to name a few. In soils that are consistently wet, steeplebush nicely complements winged monkeyflower and seedbox.

Photo by Ashley Keesling.

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