Spiraea sp. (Meadowsweet, waabashkikiibag+oon or steeplebush)
Spiraea alba

Zone: 3 to 7

Soil: sand to loam

Light: Full sun to part sun

Bloom colour: white and pink

Bloom period: August

Height: 2 to 5 feet

Moisture: medium to moist

Attracts: variety of insects

Notes: Spiraea are small to medium shrubs that look great when they are in flower. Japanese Spiraea is commonly sold in stores, but it has little ecological value, so it is really recommended to make the effort to find one of our native species on sale in a native plant nursery. The native species have flowers borne on vertical panicles. The blooming period is quite long for a shrub and occurs in late summer. You can therefore prune it in later winter

Meadowsweet, Spiraea alba, is the most common species and it is also the easiest to grow. In the wild, this species is common around the edges of a wetland, but it can also be found in drier conditions where the soil holds some moisture. It will easily grow in garden conditions with regular watering. The clusters of white flowers attract a nice range of insects too. This species will tolerate part-sun but it will really look its best in full sun growing to about 5 feet with a strong bloom.

Steeplebush or hardhack, Spiraea tormentosa, is a compact shrub that grows to between 2-4 feet high. It has pink panicles and it is a delightful plant to grow, but it is more particular about the conditions. It prefers acidic and well drained soils that remain moist most of the year. This species has a greater tendency to sucker so give it some space to fill in. It is also more tolerant of shade than Meadowsweet.


Flowerhead of Meadowsweet, Spiraea alba

Spiraea tormentosa
Flowerhead of Steeplebush, Spiraea tormentosa
Spiraea tormentosa Spiraea alba
Spiraea tormentosa Spiraea alba
Spiraea alba
Common red soldier beetle on Meadowsweet