Spiraea Species, Steeplebush, Fernald Hardhack

Spiraea tomentosa

Family: Rosaceae (ro-ZAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Spiraea (spy-REE-ah) (Info)
Species: tomentosa (toh-men-TOH-suh) (Info)
Synonym:Drimopogon tomentosa
Synonym:Spiraea ferruginea
Synonym:Spiraea glomerata
Synonym:Spiraea parvifolia
Synonym:Spiraea rosea



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)

5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From woody stem cuttings

By simple layering

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Wilmington, Illinois

Valparaiso, Indiana

Midland, Michigan

Panama, New York

Blakeslee, Pennsylvania

Kunkletown, Pennsylvania

Middleton, Tennessee

Dutton, Virginia

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Jan 13, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

It is a pretty, good, native plant for pollinating insects, but it must have a truely acid soil that is draining wet or moist. I planted one I bought from a native plant nursery in southeast Pennsylvania in 2003. However, my good quality all clay soil was just barely acid of pH 6.9, in which the plant did not thrive. I got so busy, and the other prairie-meadow plants competed with it, and I think the rabbit munched on it in winter, and it died out on me. It showed iron chlorosis before it died out with yellowing foliage. It is a wonderful native plant that should be restored in natural parks and land preserves or be used in larger natural gardens of acid soil. The Thomas Darling Preserve in the southern Poconos of PA is a site of bog, fen, and swamp (besides forest) that has a good number ... read more


On Jun 3, 2013, plant_it from Valparaiso, IN wrote:

Gorgeous spires of showy pink flowers.

A rare butterfly, Lycaeides melissa samuelis (Karner Blue), has been observed to nectar at the flowers of Steeplebush.

Native to North America (Native Distribution: Nova Scotia & N.B. to Quebec & e.c. MN, s. to NC, MS & AR). Makes a great hedge when planted 3 feet on center. Requires a rich, moist soil and full sun.


On Jan 1, 2010, growingranny from Dutton, VA (Zone 7b) wrote:

I have two of these in my gardens. I knew them as spiraea salicifolia, Willowleaf Meadowsweet. It is hard to find much information on this plant, it was here when I moved here. I assume since they bloom after May it is ok to prune them in the spring? I have never pruned them other than removing spent blooms but they didn't bloom as heavy last year so I am thinking I should prune them this spring?


On Jan 30, 2005, Todd_Boland from St. John's, NL (Zone 5b) wrote:

This American species is another S. latifolia or S. alba look-alike. The flowers on S. tomentosa are also in a conical arrangement at the tips of the rect stems but their's are usually reddish-pink, but rarely white. the telling feature for IDing this species is the felty, greyish-white undersides to the leaves. Again, too invasive for a regular garden but OK for the wildflower or butterfly garden. It will also tolerate wet, acidic soil.