How To Transplant Spirea Bushes: Learn When To Move Spirea Bushes


By: Liz Baessler

Spirea is a popular flowering shrub hardy in USDA zones 3 through 9. Whether you have one in a container that you want to move to the garden, or you have an established plant that needs to move to a new spot, sometimes spirea bush transplanting is necessary. Keep reading to learn more spirea transplanting info.

Spirea Bush Transplanting

Spirea bush transplanting from a container is easy. Pick a sunny, well-drained spot in your garden. Dig a hole that’s a couple inches (5 cm.) deeper than your container and twice as wide. It helps to set the container in the hole as you dig to get a feel for the size.

Fill the bottom of the hole with a couple inches (5 cm.) of compost. Slide the root ball out of its container and set it in the hole. Don’t shake out the excess dirt. Fill in the hole with a mix of soil and good compost.

Water thoroughly and keep the plant well watered for the next year. It may take as long as a year for your spirea to get completely established.

Moving a Spirea Shrub in the Garden

Moving a spirea shrub that’s established isn’t necessarily hard, but it can get unwieldy. Spirea shrubs can grow as tall as 10 feet (3 m.) and as wide as 20 feet (6 m.). If your shrub is especially big, you may have to prune back its branches just to get to the trunk. However, if you can reach the trunk, don’t prune it at all.

You want to dig up the root ball, which is probably as wide as the drip line, or the outermost edge of the plant’s branches. Start digging down and in at the drip line until you free the root ball. Moving a spirea shrub should be done as quickly as possible so the plant doesn’t dry out. It may help to wrap the root ball in burlap to keep it moist and to stop the soil from falling away.

Plant it in a hole prepared just like for container transplanting. If your foliage spread is wider than your root ball, prune it back a bit.

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Bridal Wreath Spirea Plant Profile

The bridal wreath spirea (Spirae aprunifolia) is a medium-sized deciduous shrub with an upright arching habit, featuring thick sprays of white double flowers that create a focal point in the landscape. Fully hardy in USDA Zones 5 to 9, this is an easy to grow shrub that, once established, requires little care.

The Spiraea genus is found within the Rosaceae family of plants, and it bears some similarity to rose bushes, especially the shape of the leaves and the spiny stems. The species name, prunifolia, indicates that the leaves are similar to those of Prunus, the group that contains many of the familiar stone fruits such as cherries, plums, and peaches.

In spring blooming season, bridal wreath spireas create a cascading waterfall of white, with clusters of small white flowers that bloom all the way down the arching branches. Each leaf is 1 to 3 inches long with an ovate or elliptical shape. The margins have many tiny serrations and the underside of the leaf is pubescent, meaning it is covered with soft hairs. The fruit on this shrub is a small brown follicle.

The spring flower display is followed by another show in the fall, when the leaves turn to hues of red, orange, and yellow.

Botanical Name Spiraea prunifolia
Common Name Spirea, Bridal wreath, Bridal veil spirea
Plant Type Deciduous shrub
Mature Size 4 to 8 feet tall, similar spread
Sun Exposure Full sun
Soil Type Any well-draining soil
Soil pH 6.0 to 7.0 (slightly acidic to neutral)
Bloom Time Early spring
Flower Color White
Hardiness Zones 5 to 9 (zone 4 with protection during the winter)
Native Area China, Korea, and Taiwan


Root Pruning

Roots of trees and shrubs normally grow well beyond the soil volume that can be moved. To keep most of the roots within a small area, root prune in the spring or fall before transplanting. Plants to be moved in the fall (October or November) should be root pruned in March, and those to be moved in spring (March) should be root pruned in October. Root prune only after leaves have fallen from deciduous plants in fall or before bud break in the spring. Plants may be damaged severely if done at other times. Roots within the pruned area grow many branches and form a strong root system within a confined area. If not root pruned, the plant may die from transplant shock because of root loss.

Before beginning, tie up the branches of low-branched or bushy plants to help avoid injury and keep them out of your way. Heavy twine is usually used, but burlap strips or one-quarter-inch rope is acceptable. Attach the twine to a branch at the base of the plant, wind it around the plant to the top and tie it in a loop.

Begin root pruning by marking a circle the size of the desired ball around the tree or shrub, and then dig a trench just outside the circle. The depth of the trench and diameter of the circle are listed in the tables following the text. (These ball sizes are recommended by the American Association of Nurserymen.) Be careful to separate the topsoil and subsoil so that when you backfill the trench you will replace the subsoil layer first and topsoil on top. After backfilling, water the area to settle the disturbed soil, remove air pockets and provide adequate moisture for new root development. Untie branches after root pruning.


Common Spirea Growing Mistakes to Avoid

The spirea is a common flowering shrub that is a favorite among landscapers. It comes in multiple varieties with leaf colors that range between green and red. The flowers of the plant include white, pink, and other variations.

Spirea is easy to grow and maintain. However, even though it is easy to cultivate a spirea plant there are several common spirea growing mistakes that you will want to avoid. These mistakes include planting your spirea in an area of your yard that is in full shade, improper spacing, over fertilizing, over watering, and forgetting to deadhead spent flowers.

1. Too Much Shade

The first growing mistake that you can make with your spirea shrub is planting it in full shade. While the spirea will tolerate partial shade it is better to plant it in full sun. Full sun plantings will produce more flowers and these flowers will have more vibrant colors.

2. Improper Spacing

Another mistake that is common when growing spirea is not providing the plants with enough space to spread out. Spirea comes in a variety of sizes and spreads. The smaller varieties tend to have spreads that range between 18 to 24 inches, while the larger varieties can have spreads as wide as four to six feet. If you plant your spirea too close together you will impede their ability to grow and to produce flowers. Always give your spirea enough space to grow without colliding with their neighbor.

3. Over Fertilizing

Over fertilizing is one of the most common growing mistakes made for spirea plants. The spirea does not require a lot of food to grow healthy. They only require an annual feeding of granular all-purpose fertilizer. This feeding can be done either in the fall or in early spring. To apply the fertilizer just sprinkle the granules around the base of your spirea. If you overfeed your spirea you can end up burning the plant, which can kill it.

4. Failing to Deadhead Your Spirea

Deadheading is the process of cutting off flowers that have faded. This process isn’t a requirement for the spirea, but it can be very beneficial.

Deadheading will prevent the production of seeds in the fall and can save you a lot of cleanup work. Also, it will encourage your spirea to produce a second batch of flowers later in the season.

If you fail to deadhead your spirea it will contain both new blooms and wilted blooms which can severely impact its beauty.

5. Over Watering

The most common growing mistake that people make when growing spirea in their yards is over watering it. The spirea can thrive under most conditions however, it does not tolerate soggy soil. It is because of this that you do not want to give your spirea too much water during the year. Spirea plants generally only need a little extra water during the summer months. The rest of the year it will be able to get the water that it needs from its natural environment.


The best time to move most shrubs is while they are fully dormant. During the winter months.


Answer #2 · Maple Tree's Answer · Hi Carol-Like Brooks said, the best time to transplant shrubs is during their dormant season. During the winter months they are no longer actively growing.

I noted below a link to a good article in Gardenality on 'How To Relocate And Transplant A Shrub Or Tree'. The step by step instructions may help. Just click on the link to go directly to the article.

Brooks, don't click on this answer. You answered the question. I just wanted Carol to see this article if she needed it to help with her transplanting.


Pruning Bridal Wreath Shrubs

Bridal Wreath Shrubs is a fast grower, so it requires regular pruning. Because it tends to spread through suckering, you will need to regularly trim these ground suckers to keep your shrub confined and looking great. The plant can be pruned for size or shape right after the spring flowering period. Try to remove old stems and dead wood to ground level. This will ensure that the center of the shrub receives enough sunlight. To control its size, trim the tips of the branches and remove some branches from the center as well. To avoid damaging the plant, remove not more than 1/3 of its stems. Early pruning allows Bridal Wreath to set buds for the following year.

An old Bridal Wreath that has grown too dense can be pruned for rejuvenation in late winter when the plant remains dormant. Cut back all the shoots and branches to 6 inches (15 cm) in height using loopers or bypass hand pruners. If your Spiraea suffered damage due to the weather, prune the wounded limbs above the stem collar with loopers or a hacksaw. Make sure to wear glasses and gloves and hold the branch securely making cuts at a downward angle away from your body.

Stems or canes that rub together in the wind or cross each other should be cut off to prevent bacteria from entering the shrub through friction wounds. Although Bridal Wreath Shrubs are not usually affected by pests or disease, improper pruning can cause bacterial infection or putrefaction. Try to avoid squeezing the shoots and instead prune it diagonally.


Ideas for Using Spirea Shrubs in Your Garden

There are many varieties of spireas, which is one of the most common shrubs in gardens across America. These deciduous shrubs can grow to be 6 feet tall with brilliant red, pink, blue, and white flowers. All 80 types of spireas are very easy to grow and will thrive in most climates. The following will provide you with some ideas on how to incorporate this popular shrub into your garden.

Borders and Boundaries

Spirea shrubs are excellent for lining borders and boundaries because of their varying heights. The spirea is ideal for low borders accompanying sidewalks or driveways. Make your patio more attractive by lining it with spireas. You can plant spirea shrubs around the base of your well established trees to create a lovely visual effect.

The spirea will also work as a hedging plant. Whether you desire a low hedge or a slightly higher one, the hardy spirea shrub makes an excellent choice for hedges.

Spireas also grow well in containers, especially the shorter varieties. This makes them very versatile and easy to move between your house and your outdoor garden. This versatility will let you alter the look of your garden and experiment with various color schemes.

The Japanese spirea is a flowering shrub that makes a great compliment to rock gardens. It grows well in a variety of soil conditions and blooms in lovely shades of white, pink, lavender, and lilac. Even though it involves a lot of maintenance such as regular pruning, it makes up for it with its long blooming period, giving your garden frequent, vibrant color. Failure to prune will result in dead flowers accumulating on the shrub. So prune regularly to enjoy those fresh flower blooms.

Increase Lighting and Color of Your Garden

The Goldmound spirea is known for its remarkable golden leaves and brilliant red flowers, which easily brighten any garden. Blooms begin to show beginning late in the spring and extending through the early summer. Pruning will help extend the blooming phase.


Watch the video: Transplanting Mature Plants


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