Spirea Vanhouttei

May 9th, 2011

The traditional Spirea Vanhouttei is hands down, my favorite shrub.

Nothing is more spectacular to me, than these cascading blossoms in early spring.

They are planted almost exclusively in front of older homes.

I guess people want more than a mere two week floral display in their shrubbery now.

Perhaps they are too large?

Too untamed?

Not modern enough?

I don’t have any either.

But it is not for lack of desire.

It is simply a matter of finding the old fashioned variety.

The Vanhouttei.

We sell a few smaller versions at the Garden Center, where I work…

But they are not the spectacular Vanhouttei.

Someday, I will find some.

And when I do – watch out.

Because I am going to plant them with abandon on every bare patch of dirt on my place.

To make up for all the years of not planting them.

And because I love them so.


  • JennyME:

    These are gorgeous–I don’t think I’ve ever seen them before. I live in the south & most of my neighbors’ landscaping begins & ends with azaleas.

    Have you ever seen this blog? http://ladymuckdigs.blogspot.com/
    The author works in the gardens of a country estate in England.

  • I LOVE spirea! I too, wish I could find the older kind, like what my grandma had around her front porch. I also love forsythia when it’s allowed to go ‘wild’. I do have one of those in our side yard. I also have some lovely fuschia-colored peonies which are getting ready to bloom. I can’t wait!

  • theresa:

    Where I grew up (south/central Illinois), every yard had these shrubs. We called them Barbi’s Bridal Wreaths. By “we” I mean the kids. My grandpa called them the damn bushes that leave the mess of white petals all over the ground.

    • theresa:

      Bouquet, not wreath.

  • I wonder if you could find some kind soul who would give you a few shoots to transplant? Also a lover of Spirea!

  • Martha MC (EzGrandma in OK):

    Here you go …

    Order to your heart’s content! They are beautiful.

    • Rechelle:

      Thanks Martha! I guess I no longer have an excuse.

      • Martha MC (EzGrandma in OK):

        You are welcome. We’ll look forward to pictures next spring.

        • Martha, thank you for that link. I emailed it to my husband and told him that I would really LOVE a few of these plants. Hope he gets the hint!

          • Martha MC (EzGrandma in OK):

            I hope he does too. They are beautiful in the spring.

  • LucyJoy:

    We had one outside our bathroom window (which really wasn’t a window, but glass blocks) until my Dad tired of it & pulled it out one day when my Mom was at work…! They’re beautiful! I’d love to find an old one, too…Hmmm. I wonder if there are still remnants back at the old house…

  • Kay in KCMO:

    In the house I grew up in there was a huge lilac bush out back and a big, floppy forsythia bush out front. Our next door neighbors had a big spirea bush on one corner of the porch and a similar looking bush, but purple, on the opposite corner. In the spring I was always snapping off branches of all these bushes and making bouquets. I was a bad girl.

  • Spirea is my favorite, too! My mom had one of these planted at the corner of the house. I always loved springtime when it would bloom like crazy. It looked just like the ones in your pictures.

  • My neighbor has three of these lovelies in front of her house. Last year they hacked the heck out of them, and they still haven’t fully recovered. So this year on Mother’s Day not as much of the flowy white, so sad. I do love them but my all time favorite shrub is the lilac. The heavenly scent gets me everytime.

  • Mary:

    Seeing these glorious shrubs each Spring just fills my heart with joy! I’ve long wondered what variety they were, and am so glad you wrote about them!

  • farmgirl:

    I believe that Jung’s of Wisconsin sells the VanHouttei—I remember ashamedly that I shook my head no to my husband when he brought me one from his mother’s shrub—so he planted it in the fenceline on our farm—where it blooms to this day despite me! :(