White Gold SpireaSpiraea japonica 'White Gold' (PP# 13,609)
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Spiraea japonica 'White Gold' (PP# 13,609)
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The White Gold Spirea is a small deciduous shrub 2 to 3 feet tall and up to 4 feet wide that is ideal for filling areas in the front of borders and for edging and low hedges. It has vibrant golden foliage in full sun and chartreuse-green foliage when shaded – both are lovely. The flowers are not pink as is usual with gold spirea, because this plant is unique in having white flowers combined with golden leaves. These sparkle all over the bush in late spring to early summer, and again a little in late summer. This easy plant is ideal for beds, rock gardens, edging and planter boxes.
A place in the sun is best to grow the White Gold Spirea, put it will also grow in partial shade. It is hardy even in zone 3 and grows in any well-drained garden soil, including poor soils and urban conditions. It normally has no pests or diseases and takes care of itself, although a quick summer trim and some spring pruning when older will give you outstanding results.
Golden shrubs are very useful in the garden, adding lots of brightness all season long to your beds. The best are tough and reliable, hard workers who need very little attention from you. There are several varieties of Spirea with that golden coloring, but if you are very color conscious you will notice a problem with them. Yes, they are tough, reliable, and their gold coloring is terrific. But the flowers are pink, and pink against a background of gold is not attractive to some people, especially if you are making a bed with golds, yellows, and oranges – it’s a definite color clash. If you are bothered by this – or if you are simply looking for an attractive gold-leaf shrub that is very low-maintenance – then we have the answer for you. The White Gold Spirea is the only gold-leaf spirea available that has white, not pink or purple, flowers. These sparkle against the gold, looking bright but never ever clashing colors. We love the vibrant gold of this shrub, from spring right into fall, and our ‘color sensitive’ staff are so much happier – you will be too.
The White Gold Spirea is a small deciduous shrub with a twiggy habit, growing between 2 and 3 feet tall and spreading to almost 4 feet across. The branches are hidden by the dense foliage, making an attractive golden mound in your beds. It is typically wider than it is tall, making it great for covering larger areas while staying low. The oval leaves taper to a point, and they are 1 or 2 inches long. When they emerge in spring they are bright yellow, turning more chartreuse green in summer, depending on the amount of sun, but staying bright. This coloring lasts through summer and into fall, when it may turn lighter yellow again. The leaves don’t burn, even in hot summer sunshine.
In late spring and early summer clusters of small flowers develop at the ends of the new branches. These clusters are 1¼ inches across, and each one contains up to 30 tiny flowers, which are white with the lightest touch of cream. The stamens protrude from the flower, giving a slightly fuzzy look to these cute blossoms. Flowering lasts several weeks, and stems sometimes produce more blooms in late summer.
You can create beautiful golden accents in your beds with the White Gold Spirea. Use one plant, or groups of 3, 5 or more to make clusters and ribbons of gold along the front of your beds as edging, against a lawn or paved surface. Use it in a rock garden, or beside a pond. Plant it beside a path, or on either side of an entrance or door. It is also an excellent plant for trimming into neat low hedges, and for growing in planter boxes and pots.
The White Gold Spirea is incredibly hardy, growing without damage even in zone 3, and thriving all the way into zone 8.
Growing it in full sun is the best way to keep this plant golden and bright. It will grow in partial shade, but expect a more lime-green foliage – which is still attractive and bright. Unlike many other gold-leaf plants this one won’t scorch in the summer sun, but just turn more golden.
Pests and diseases are rare and not normally found on the White Gold Spirea. It is very low-maintenance and it can be left pretty much to take care of itself. If you like a neater garden, trim lightly after most of the blooms are over, to remove the spent flower heads – new growth will quickly sprout out, often producing more blooms. Once it is a few years old, some spring pruning will keep it vigorous and at its best. Remove several of the older branches, leaving a framework of young stems, and trim those back by about one-third. This will keep the plant vigorous and attractive for many years. Some water in long dry summers will be appreciated, but this plant has good resistance to drought.
The Japanese Spirea, Spiraea japonica, grows wild through the north of Japan and China. It has been grown in gardens there for centuries, and all the original forms brought to Europe and America were garden plants, not the wild plant itself. The development of the plant called ‘White Gold’ is a lesson in plant breeding. Back in 1993 Peter Catt, who lives in the village of Liss, in Hampshire, England, took pollen from a plant of the Japanese spirea with golden leaves and pink flowers, called ‘Candlelight’. He used it to pollinate a plant of the wild white-flowered variety, Spirea japonica var. albiflora, which has green leaves. There were several seedlings with gold leaves that grew from this cross, but none of them had white flowers. So Peter this time took pollen from his plant of albiflora, and used it on the best of the golden plants. Among the seedlings he grew was one with golden leaves and white flowers – exactly what he had been aiming for. After testing it for garden value he patented his unique plant in 2003, with the name ‘White Gold’.
We love this great plant, which should be grown more by everyone who likes their gardens attractive, color-coordinated and trouble-free. That is pretty much everyone, so these plants will be off the farm very soon – order right away.