Colored foliage is fundamental in modern gardens, where we rely much more on the permanence of colorful leaves than on temporary periods of flowering. Color stability is much easier to work with in arranging an attractive garden. Flowers become passing accents against a backdrop that is not just green, but a rich tapestry of color. If you live in colder parts of the country then choices can be limited, so cold-hardy plants with colored foliage become premium items. The Gold Mound Spirea sits at the top of the list of cold-hardy, low-maintenance shrubs with colored foliage. This is especially since its foliage, which begins the year bright acid-yellow, and becomes vibrant yellow-green by summer, is a color that contrasts beautifully with all other colors in the garden. It can be used to brighten any area, and it is small enough to also grow well in planter boxes and containers, so it can be used almost anywhere you need its wonderful golden coloring.
The Gold Mound Spirea is a small shrub that grows 2 to 3 feet tall and 3 or 4 feet wide. Its size makes it perfect for using as a single plant in smaller gardens or beds, or for grouping in clusters of three, five, seven or more plants in larger spaces. It is the essence of a low-maintenance plant, pest-free and thriving in all kinds of garden soils. It is at its most colorful in full sun, but it will also grow well in light shade, and once established it is moderately drought resistant too. This deciduous shrub is hardy to at least a chilly minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit, so there are few places in the country where it will not survive and grow. Although officially listed for zone 4, it will survive much colder temperatures under snow cover. It is also suitable for all but the warmest states, up to an including zone 8. It will grow in any soil from sand to clay, except for ones that are constantly wet.
The Gold Mound Spirea begins the year by sending out bright-yellow leaves, as the new branches develop. The leaves are oval, up to 3 inches long, although often smaller, and the edges are cut into ‘teeth’ which however are not in any way sharp or spiny. As the summer progresses the foliage can fade a little, becoming more lime-green, but still looking bright and sparkling in the garden. In early summer clusters of tiny flowers develop at the ends of the branches, their soft-pink color making a fascinating contrast with the golden leaves. Additional flowers can occur sporadically over the summer. In fall the cold weather causes red and orange tones to develop, making a final show before falling for the winter months.
The bumald spirea, called Spiraea x bumalda, is believed by some authorities to be a hybrid plant between the Japanese spirea, Spiraea japonica, and Spiraea albiflora. However other botanists consider that second plant to be no more than a variety of the Japanese spirea, so this would not in fact be a hybrid at all, merely another form of Japanese spirea. At this point the answer is not known, so either name can be used. There is a variety called ‘Goldflame’, with orange and yellow spring growth and green summer leaves, developed in the USA in the 1970s. The Gold Mound Spirea is a child of ‘Goldflame’ and a dwarf variety of Japanese spirea called ‘Alpina’ or ‘Nana’. Other spirea plants will not have this variety’s attractive foliage, and cheaper seedling plants will certainly not resemble it in any way at all.
Plant your Gold Mound Spirea bushes in a sunny location for the best color. If you are planting a group, odd numbers look best. Arrange your plants in a random group, allowing 12” to 18” between them, to create a continuous flow of foliage. You can prune this plant in early spring, by removing the thinner stems at the base, and leaving a framework of thicker stems, or you can leave it to grow more naturally, and just shear it lightly in early spring to keep it tidy, before new growth develops. Water newly-planted bushes regularly, but once established this easy-care plant will survive periods of drought with no problem at all. It has no significant pests or diseases, and requires no protection to survive the harshest of winter conditions.
The Gold Mound Spirea is one of the toughest and most easily grown plants you can use in your garden. Its vibrant gold coloring will brighten your beds all year. Like you, our other clients love this plant too, so order now, as our supplies will certainly not last long.