Double Play® Blue Kazoo® SpireaSpiraea media 'SMSMBK' (PP#26,655)
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Spiraea media 'SMSMBK' (PP#26,655)
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Blue Kazoo® Spirea, part of the Double Play® Spirea group, is a new variety of Japanese Spirea with colorful foliage from spring to fall. The spring shoots are a remarkable blue-green color, shaded with bronzy tones – a great way to welcome a new gardening season. The bronze fades, but the cool blue-green lasts all summer. In fall the leaves turn brilliant reds, making a striking fall display. As well, in summer the bush is covered with a continuous display of ice-white flowers. The combination of both blue foliage and white flowers really is a ‘double play’, with two features rolled into one plant. It grows into a bush 2 to 3 feet tall, and the same across, making it ideal for smaller gardens. Use it in larger gardens for edging, or for planting in groups to make drifts of color. It is also the perfect choice to make low hedges along paths and drives, or around trees. For easy care and dramatic colors, this plant can’t be beaten.
The Blue Kazoo® Spirea grows from the coldest parts of zone 4 all the way to zone 9, so it can be grown almost anywhere in the country. Plant it in a sunny or in a lightly shaded location. It will grow in all soil types except for flooded, wet ones, and it will tolerate dry conditions once it is established. This is a plant with no pests or diseases of any importance, and it can be left to grow naturally or trimmed to keep it neater if you wish.
Shrubs with colored foliage are a great way to get instant and permanent color into your garden. You don’t have to wait until plants reach flowering size, because the moment you plant them, the color is there. Flowers come and go, mostly in a few short weeks, while foliage color is there for the duration. Planting annual flowers can also give ‘instant’ color, but it often seems that as soon as you have planted them, they need replacing, or are killed by the arrival of cold weather. You end up back where you started. This is not what happens with the Blue Kazoo Spirea, and other plants in the extensive range of colored foliage you can find here at The Tree Center. Plant these shrubs and they will be permanent color, improving and growing every year with no input from you.
The Blue Kazoo Spirea is the ideal size – small enough to fit into any garden, yet large enough to make a statement. In a larger garden group 3 or 5 together for a powerful splash of color. This spirea is so tough it needs no winter protection or anything special at all to survive minus 30 degrees with a smile. If you live in zone 4, it is an ideal choice for easy-care gardening. It will also grow well in all the warmer zones, even in zone 9, so everyone can enjoy this great plant.
The Blue Kazoo Spirea is a new breakthrough in foliage color, and certainly unique among spirea, and for that matter, most broad-leaf shrubs. The new spring growth is a cool blue-green, touched with bronze. As the foliage develops the bronzy shades fade away, leaving that unique blue-green coloring, with grey overtones, until fall. Then the leaves turn dramatic tones of red, giving a wonderful fall display to compliment and enrich the larger trees that are also coloring at that time of year. But wait, we are not finished yet.
There is another breakthrough, because the Blue Kazoo Spirea also has beautiful contrasting flowers, in a sparkling white that glows across the garden. You will love the profusion of flowers that cover this plant all summer long, coolly contrasting with the blue foliage. No sooner have the leaves fully emerged for the summer, then the flowers begin, and they keep coming right into fall. No wonder it is called ‘Double Play’, with both foliage and flower color to play with in your garden.
All this happens on a dense, bushy shrub that grows between 2 and 3 feet tall and the same across. This is small enough to fit into any corner of the garden, or edge a large bed. Left to grow to its full height it is large enough to stand in the middle of a bed, and be part of a larger shrub arrangement. You can also grow this plant as a beautiful and ever-changing low hedge, to run along a walk or drive, or to edge a terrace or outdoor paved area. The plant has many branches rising from the ground, covered in small, oval leaves with tiny serrated edges – soft, not spiny. The flowers are carried at the ends of new shoots that come from the older branches in spring, and new flower clusters are produced all summer.
Plant your Blue Kazoo Spirea in a sunny or partially-shaded place – it has good tolerance to moderate shade. It will grow in any kind of soil, except for ones that are constantly wet. It has no pests or diseases, and needs very little care to thrive. You can shear it lightly in spring, before the new growth appears, to keep it neat. It can also be pruned at that time, removing older stems and thin stems that have flowered. Leave a framework of sturdy, young branches.
Spiraea media, is native to forests, grassy areas and rocky mountainous places from eastern Europe through central Asia to Japan, Siberia, China and Korea. The wild plant does not have a lot of garden features, but it has given rise to a striking new color-break in spirea foliage. The Blue Kazoo Spirea was found in 2009 by Timothy Wood, a plant breeder with Spring Meadow Nursery, Inc. in Grand Haven, Michigan. The company had established a breeding program to develop new, more colorful Spirea plants, each with two great new features, in their Double Play series. He grew a variety of plants of this species from seed, looking for interesting variations. Among the seedlings was an outstanding plant, with new leaf colors never seen before and pure white flower, which he officially named ‘SMSMBK’. This is a patented plant, so every bush sold is guaranteed to be the true variety, and cheaper plants, even with similar names, are not the genuine article.
When a new variety comes along, the demand can be enormous, and we know that this plant sells well. So to enjoy unique blue foliage, and snow-white flowers all summer, order now while our limited stock lasts.