false spirea

False Spirea (Sorbaria sorbifolia): How To Grow and Care

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Forgetful gardeners must avoid planting false spirea. If not, this plant will spread out very quickly, and they could potentially lose much-needed space for other crops. These plants grow so fast that their roots could grow underneath without stopping.

This bush has a ‘’I’ll-grow-everywhere’’ kind of attitude. And precisely because of this, false spirea shrub is so loved by many. 

Continue reading if you would like to know more about this invasive yet gorgeous plant.

Basic Facts about False Spirea

The false spirea’s botanical name is Sorbaria sorbifolia. Interestingly, they belong to the Rosaceae family of plants, thus, they are related to roses.

This is a native shrub to Manchuria, China, Japan, Siberia, and Korea, although it can be found everywhere in the world right now. According to the USDA hardiness zone, the false spirea will thrive best in zones 2 to 9.

This plant is often called ash-leaf spirea, or ural false spirea. They can grow up to 10 feet tall and bloom throughout the summer, more specifically from June to July. 

Ash-leaf Spirea’s Characteristics

This shrub forms many arching branches that are often covered with feathery leaves, and the flowers will bloom during the summer.

This rapidly growing shrub will spread if left untouched, hence why it is often considered an invasive species.

Although it looks like a delicate shrub, the reality is that it is firm and will withstand the hardest of climate conditions.

All the leaves have a distinctive shape and an attractive color as they are bright green with an opaque red tint.

How to Grow the Ural False Spirea Shrub

Keep these tips in mind when growing this low-maintenance shrub:

Light Exposure

The shrub needs plenty of direct light to thrive. Thus, it would be best if it’s planted directly under the sunlight. If it receives full sun for at least 6 hours a day, the shrub will grow healthy.

If the weather is too hard, especially during summer, it is advisable to place the shrub in a partially shaded area. This way, the plant will have more survival chances.

Water Requirements

The shrub is very drought-tolerant, thus, it won’t need much water apart from rainwater. However, if the leaves start turning yellow, it is advisable to water them thoroughly until they start changing colors as well, as this is usually the sign that the shrub needs water.

Soil Needs

Although the ural false spirea prefers organic-rich soils, they will grow in more problematic soils such as clay soils. As a result, this plant is often used in difficult areas to stop erosion from happening. 

In fact, gardeners have been planting the shrub to prevent erosion and as a green mulch that can cover and protect the soil. 

Space Requirements

If only a small space is left available for this shrub, they will immediately take it over completely. If there is more available space, it will rapidly grow in those areas, regardless of the other plants and their needs.

A Sorbaria sorbifolia shrub could be grown in a large container. This way, you will make sure the plant never spreads out to other areas. However, the plant’s roots could break the container if or when they start growing. 

Lastly, the plant won’t grow as quickly when it’s in heavy clay soil, as the clay particles won’t allow the propagation of the false spirea bush. 

Prune It or Not?

Ideally, it would be best to prune old leaves, branches, and even the flowers of this shrub, as soon as winter starts to fade away. This plant won’t survive hard winters, thus, they will come back healthier in springtime if you prune it first.

Pests and Diseases

This plant is durable, resistant, and strong, therefore, it will thrive even if the meanest of pests comes after it! There are no serious diseases that affect this plant either.



The Ash-leaf spirea is a lovely plant, perfect for lazy gardeners who want to have a quick-growing shade or screen in their orchards. However, this plant could quickly form a dense colony of plants, hence why many individuals decide to plant it in a container instead.

*image by aga77ta/depositphotos

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