Anthony Waterer SpireaSpirea x bumalda 'Anthony Waterer'
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Spirea x bumalda 'Anthony Waterer'
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Anthony Waterer Spirea is a well-known and valuable small shrub that is ideal for filling spaces in the garden with a long season of colorful flowers. Grow it in the foreground of your beds to finish them with lots of color and interest, without adding work. Among the most low-maintenance and hardy of all garden shrubs, it can be used to edge a driveway, soften the borders of a terrace, or plant a slope to prevent erosion. The leaves are purple in spring, and bright red in fall, and it grows to be about 3 feet tall and 4 feet across – the perfect size for good effect without taking over.
Plant the Anthony Waterer Spirea in full sun or partial shade, it will be happy in both. It grows even in zone 3, and it thrives in any garden soil, from sands to clays, just so long as the soil is not permanently flooded. Once established it is moderately drought-tolerant. It has no pests or diseases, tolerates urban conditions well, and deer leave it alone. A quick trim to tidy it up once or twice a year is all it takes to keep it looking great and working hard for you and your garden.
One big secret to successful gardening is to use lots of well-established, reliable and easy plants to build a framework, and use ‘special’ plants to create seasonal highlights and give your garden a unique character. The reliable plants will fill spaces, and give you a stable basic planting, and most importantly, save a lot of work and maintenance. This is especially true when you are creating a new garden. When it comes to reliable, colorful and easy plants for almost any zone, you really can’t beat the Anthony Waterer Spirea.
The Anthony Waterer Spirea is a small, broad, deciduous shrub that grows just 2 or 3 feet tall, and spread out a little wider, up to perhaps 4 feet across. It has a dense, bushy habit, so it makes a solid statement (and blocks out weeds), while giving you color at several seasons – something to look for from all your plants. It is covered from late spring to mid-summer with 6-inch flat heads of pinky-red flowers, that make a wonderful show. A trim as they finally fade will often bring back some more by early fall, meaning blooms from June to September. The oval leaves are up to 4 inches long, but usually smaller, and they have deep teeth along the edges. They begin the year a purplish red color, adding early interest, and then turn a deep green, that can have an interesting blue-green tone to it, for the summer. Then in fall this great little shrub puts on a last display, when the leaves turn bright red. That is three seasons of interest on plants that need almost no care – you couldn’t ask for more. Sometimes leaves will have splashes of white on them, a unique characteristic of this plant.
There are many uses around the garden for the Anthony Waterer Spirea. Its size makes it perfect for planting alone or in groups at the front of beds, and with its branches right to the ground it makes them look ‘finished’, either on a lawn or edging a path or terrace. When you have long straight edges from driveways or patios, planting this shrub close to the edge will soften that line, because it will grow across the hard surface in a very attractive way. For a simple but effective way to turn your driveway from ‘boring’ to ‘beautiful’, edge it with a row of these plants, spaced out 2 to 2½ feet apart. If you have walls and fences, then the Anthony Waterer Spirea planted along the bottom will look lovely. For slopes and banks, it is perfect too, holding the soil, preventing erosion, and making a colorful show. For rocky areas too, it’s a great space-filling choice, and it looks just right at home among them.
When it comes to placing the Anthony Waterer Spirea in your garden, it is incredibly adaptable. It is hardy all the way into zone 3, so it’s a great choice for cold gardens. It does best in full sun, but it will easily tolerate a few hours of shade each day. It is very easy about soil – just give it any ordinary garden soil, from sand to clay, that is not constantly saturated with water, and it is happy. In a perfect world the soil will be rich, moist but well-drained, but really, for this tough plant, almost anything goes. It is tolerant of ordinary periods of drought, once established, and it has no important or threatening pests or diseases. It shrugs off the difficult conditions in city gardens, and in the country, you will find that deer almost always leave it completely alone. Really, what more could we ask for? It needs very little care, and you can simply trim it over each spring, before the new growth appears. It is also possible to thin out the branches at that time, removing weak, twiggy growth, and older branches completely. That sort of more complicated care is not absolutely necessary, and a quick trim to remove old flower heads will do nicely for most plantings of this easy shrub.
The Anthony Waterer Spirea is a special form of the Japanese Spirea, and it is correctly known as Spirea x bumalda. It is very similar to Spirea japonica, and seems to be a hybrid of that plant with a species only found in Japanese gardens, called Spirea albiflora. The variety called ‘Anthony Waterer’ was probably found in Japan and imported by an old English nursery called John Waterer & Sons. It first appeared in their catalogue in 1875, and since then it has been a continuing garden favorite, because it is so reliable and hardy. The demand for this plant is always huge, because it is such a reliable and well-known favorite. Order now, while our stocks last – they will soon be gone.