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  • Please see the Using the Plant Library  page  for some tips on how to make the most of the information here to select species for creating a healthy native plant community suited to the conditions of your site.

Spiraea alba, White Meadowsweet

Spiraea alba

White Meadowsweet

  • Average to Moderately wet to Moderately Dry Soils
  • Sun to Light Shade
  • Up to 48” tall, 12” to 36” spacing, spreads to form a patch
  • Mid Summer Blooms
  • Ontario Native, Thrives Meadow, Wet Meadow and Open Woodland Ecosystems 

While this Spirea is well established as a long-term species at the Perth place, the largest patch, in a dry sunny spot, often looks a bit tattered by mid summer. I’ve become convinced that this has more to do with the setting than the species though, since plants growing in nearby areas that are seasonally wet, and less likely to get really dry through the summer, remain lush and green until fall.

While I haven’t found these to be fast to spread, they do produce offsets and can travel a bit. They are recommended as a hedge species on the Missouri Botanical Garden plant finder (a really excellent website by the way) and I suspect that occasional pruning would encourage a dense, well branched form with plenty of blooms. Their tiny, mid-summer flowers are held in fluffy, cone shaped clusters and are very popular with pollinators of all shapes and sizes. Their seed heads retain the same shape as the blooming clusters and add some texture to the garden well into winter.

Without pruning, they grow to around 3’ to 4’ in height and width, making them one of the smaller Ontario native shrub species (except for bog and alvar species, but they don’t always adapt well to garden settings) and one that I think would adapt very well to urban and suburban life. They would also thrive in a mixed meadow setting and would love a spot next to a downspout or in soggy corner of a backyard. I’ve seen them absolutely thriving, and nicely holding their own, alongside Joe-Pye-Weed, Giant Goldenrod and wetland grasses in a very crowded, seasonally flooded area that I drive by regularly on my way too and from the Perth Gardens. I’m pretty sure that White Turtlehead, Blue Vervain, Boneset and Pink Swamp Milkweed would also be very happy in that company.

I’ve mostly noticed these in sunny areas but the internet tells me that they are also happy in partial shade. All-in-all, I think that these are an underappreciated species that deserves to be included in a lot more gardens.


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Species that were not sown / aren't being sown for 2023 are marked with an * 
Species that are native to this continent, but not historically native to Ontario are marked with a ~ 
While it rarely comes up, I do reserve the right to limit plant quantities, mostly to help ensure that as many native plant gardens as possible become a reality
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