Anthony Waterer Spirea

Anthony Waterer Spirea is a mixture between common Japanese spirea and Japanese white spirea. At times this deciduous plant will send out branches that may be oddly colored or variegated. These branches are called sports. This cultivar may look vastly different from one plant to another.
Rose pink clusters of flowers in flat umbels appear in early summer. Anthony Waterer Spirea is known to attract butterflies to the garden. This species was introduced to England in 1865. It is adaptable to many soil types as long as it gets sufficient light.
It grows fast, so you can prune it back every year to maintain a small size if you wish since it blooms on new growth.

Companion Plant Ideas

Photo by sharon_k

Anthony Waterer Spirea works well in a mixed border planting or along a foundation. The flowers are attractive in cut arrangements.
To really show it off, plant it with butterfly bush, mock orange or viburnum. Other choices for companion planting may include barberry or snowberry. They look lovely planted with evergreens.
This shrub is perfect for the cottage or woodland garden. This is a terrific choice if you are looking for blooms that fill in that awkward stage in the garden between late spring and early summer.
They don’t get too big, so it is easy to maintain in a small yard or in a pot. Planting And Care Tips Anthony Waterer Spirea is easy to care for. Plant in a sunny or partially shady site in well drained soil. If your plant doesn’t get at least 4 to 5 hours of sun per day it will bloom poorly. Choose a place with plenty of room for your spirea to grow. Water regularly the first season. Water well before freezing weather sets in. Mulch around the base.
Once established, it is drought tolerant. Pruning should take place in early spring to promote branching or to manage the shape. Blooms that are spent should be deadheaded.
The plant may be shorn lightly to promote more flowering. Be sure to remove any branches that are damaged or cross others. This plant may be susceptible to scale, aphids, powdery mildew and fireblight.

Spirea Information

  • Scientific Name: Spirea x bumalda ‘Anthony Waterer’
  • Best Soil: Widely adaptable
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Growth Rate: Rapid
  • Foilage: Blue green; new growth is pink tinged
  • Fall Color: Reddish
  • Bloom: Rose pink flat flower clusters in early summer
  • Mature Size and Shape: Grows 2 to 3 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide
  • Hardiness Zone: 5 – 9
  • Plant Spacing: Plant 2 to 3 feet apart


Vanhoutte spirea (S. x vanhouttei) in full bloom.
Photo by Joey Williamson, ©2008 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Spireas (Spiraea species) are among the easiest flowering shrubs to grow. These attractive shrubs are fast growing and should be grown in full sun for best flowering. They can, however, tolerate partial shade. Some are spring bloomers; whereas others bloom in the summer. Plant sizes vary by species and cultivar, and they range from 1½ to 8 feet tall. There are many species of spireas (greater than 80), but only the most commonly encountered species and cultivars are included here.

Mature Height/Spread

Baby’s breath spirea (S. thunbergii), also called thunberg spirea, is a showy, graceful shrub from 3 to 5 feet high and wide, with many slender, arching branches. The small, narrow, toothed leaves turn orange in late fall. The tiny white flowers are clustered in the axils along the stems in spring. More than any other spirea, it has a feathery appearance. These are some of the earliest bloomers. Prune soon after flowering if needed. For USDA zones 4 to 8.

Vanhoutte spirea (S. x vanhouttei) is a deciduous broadleaf shrub with an arching branch habit that can grow 5 to 8 feet high and spread as much as 7 to 10 feet wide. The Vanhoutte hybrids are crosses of S. trilobata and S. cantoniensis. The small leaves are blue-green in summer with no appreciable fall color. Masses of small, white flower clusters cover the plant in the spring. For USDA zones 3 to 8.

Flower clusters of Vanhoutte spirea (S>. x vanhouttei</em).
Photo by Karen Russ, ©2008 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Reeves spirea (S. cantoniensis) is a white, single-flowered shrub with a white bridal wreath growth habit. The straight species is rarely encountered, whereas double-flowered cultivars are more common in South Carolina landscapes. The shrub grows 5 to 6 feet tall. In the Upper South the small green leaves may turn red in fall. In the Deep South they remain on the plant without changing color. Prune after flowering if needed. For USDA zones 5 to 8.

Bridal wreath spirea (S. prunifolia) is an early blooming, deciduous shrub with white, double flowers that appear before the foliage in the spring. This spirea grows to about 6 feet tall and wide. Prune, if necessary, soon after flowering. Fall color is red to orange. These are often found at old home sites and are hardy from USDA zones 5 to 8. Other species of spirea, such as the Vanhoutte spirea, are often sold as “bridal wreath spireas” in catalogs.

Growth Rate

Although spireas are typically not large plants, they do grow quickly.

Landscape Use

Spireas are valued for their form and flowers. They are used as a specimen plant or as a hedge, screen, or border. Smaller cultivars can make nice accent plants for a border perennial garden. Most spireas are deciduous shrubs, and some have colorful fall foliage. Spirea flowers are often visited by butterflies. Spireas are generally deer resistant.


Fall is the best planting time, as it is for most shrubs. Spireas are also easy to dig and transplant to new sites, and late fall after leaf drop is the best time for moving these shrubs. These shrubs grow best, more dense, and produce more blooms in full sun. Spireas are tolerant of many soils except those that are extremely wet. The plant also responds well to applied mulch and summer watering.

After flowering has finished, prune the mostly spring-blooming spireas. Thin out old and weak canes to the ground annually. Prune the summer-blooming, bumalda spireas in winter or early spring. The bumaldas generally need less severe pruning than other species of spireas. After flowers on any spirea cultivar fade, remove them and a second flush of growth is stimulated, which will result in additional flowers.


Like other members of the rose family, spireas are susceptible to various pests and diseases, but most are not serious.

Diseases: Phytophthora or Pythium root rots could occur in poorly drained, wet soils, but these soils should be avoided for almost any type of shrub.

Phyllosticta and Cylindrocladium leaf spots have been reported on S. x bumalda cultivars, but are uncommon. Any shrub watered by over-head irrigation is more apt to contract a foliar fungal disease, so drip irrigation is always the best choice. Sprays with chlorothalonil (such as Daconil) will help control fungal leaf spot diseases. Rake or blow out fallen diseased leaves during the late winter and dispose of them to aid in disease control.

Insect Pests: Aphids are occasionally a problem in the spring. Spray in the early evening with an insecticidal soap solution for aphid control, and repeat sprays as needed.

Invasiveness: Japanese spirea (Spiraea japonica) is considered invasive in the Southeast US. Because of this potential, Japanese spirea and its cultivars are not recommended as suggested landscape plants*. Bumalda spireas (S. x bumalda) are crosses between S. japonica var. albiflora and S. japonica. These are also Japanese spireas and may be invasive. The most commonly produced cultivars, and there are many, are included last for purely educational purposes, so that if cultivar names only are listed in a catalog or in a nursery, SC residents will realize that these are Japanese spireas.

Reference: *The Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council

Cultivars for SC Landscapes

  • S. cantoniensis ‘Lanceolata’: This cultivar is a double-flowered Reeves spirea. Blooms are made as many-petaled, miniature roses. Plants grow to 4 to 6 feet tall and 6 feet wide. For USDA zones 5 to 9b.
  • S. thunbergii Gold Thread™ (‘Ogon’): (by Garden Debut® Plant Collection). Gold Thread grows to 3 to 4 feet tall and wide. It has chartreuse, willow-like leaves and blooms in the spring with white flowers before the foliage appears For USDA zones 3 to 8.
  • S. x vanhouttei ‘Renaissance’: This cultivar grows to 5 feet tall and 6 feet wide with graceful, arching branches. Bred for increased foliar disease resistance It has a massive display of pure white flowers, and its fall color is orange-red. For USDA zones 3 to 8.
  • S. media Blue Kazoo® Double Play® Series (‘SMSMBK’ PPAF): (by Proven Winners). This cultivar grows to 2 to 3 feet tall and wide. New growth appears burgundy and changes at maturity to blue-green. Fall color is red. Blooms in spring with white flowers. For USDA zones 3 to 8b.
  • S. media Snow Storm™ (‘Darsnorm’): (by Proven Winners). Plants grow 3 to 5 feet tall and wide. Foliage is blue-green during the summer, with orange and red colors in fall. Tiny white flowers make dome-shaped clusters that appear in late spring through early summer. For USDA zones 4 to 8.
  • S. x cinerea First Snow® (‘Grefsheim’): Plants are a hybrid of (S. hypericifolia × S. cana), and grow 4 to 5 feet tall and wide with dense arching stems. This cultivar is an early bloomer – before the soft green foliage appears. The flowers are white and fragrant. For USDA zones 4 to 7.
  • S. nipponica ‘Snowmound’: This white flowered cultivar grows 2 to 4 feet tall and wide in late spring with attractive arching stems. Foliage is a dark, blue-green. Prune after flowering. For USDA zones 3 to 8.
  • S. betulifolia ‘Tor’: This birchleaf spirea grows as a dense, rounded mound to 2 to 3 feet tall and wide. It has tiny white flowers in clusters over the foliage in late spring. The dark green, oval leaves turn orange, red and purple in fall. Prune in late winter if needed. For USDA zones 4 to 8.
  • S. betulifolia ‘Tor Gold’ Glow Girl® PPAF: (by Proven Winners). This birchleaf spirea grows to 3 to 4 feet tall and wide with a compact habit. It has white flowers in late spring, and lemon-lime foliage. For USDA zones 3 to 8.
  • S. x ‘NCSX2’ Double Play Doozie® PPAF: (by Proven Winners). This mounding spirea is a sterile cultivar that is remontant, which means it repeat blooms. It blooms with red to purplish-red flowers in late spring and repeat blooms in waves during the summer and fall. The shrub grows to 2 to 3 feet tall by 2 to 3 feet wide and can be useful for a small hedge, in mass, or in mixed planting.

Japanese Spirea Cultivars

  • S. x bumalda ‘Anthony Waterer’: Grows to 2 to 3 feet tall by 3 to 4 feet wide and is a low maintenance plant. Flowers are carmine-red in flat-topped clusters, and flowers on new growth. Fall color of foliage is purple. For USDA zones 4 to 8.
  • S. x bumalda ‘Dolchia’: New growth is purplish-red and leaves have frilly serrated margins. Plants grow to 2 to 3 feet tall and 2 to 4 feet wide. Flowers are bright pink in late spring. Fall foliage is a rich red. For USDA zones 5 to 9.
  • S. x bumalda ‘Goldflame’: Blooms in the summer with bright pink flowers. Grows to 2 to 3 feet tall and wide. New foliage is orange-gold and matures in summer to light green. Fall foliage color is copper-orange. For USDA zones 4 to 8.
  • S. x bumalda Golden Sunrise™ (‘Monhud’): This cultivar is a branch sport of ‘Goldflame’, and has bright yellow new growth that changes to a yellow green in summer. Fall color of foliage is coppery orange. Blooms during the summer with pink flowers. Plants grow 3 feet tall by 4 feet wide.
  • S. x bumalda Limemound® (‘Monhub’): This cultivar is a branch sport of ‘Goldflame’. New growth is a bright lemon-yellow that matures to lime green. Grows to 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Hot pink flowers appear in early summer. Fall color is orange red with red stems. For USDA zones 3 to 8.
  • S. x bumalda Little Bonnie™ (‘BL0601’): (Southern Living Plant Collection): Plants grow 2 to 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Flowers are lavender-pink during the summer. Foliage emerges bronze-red and matures to a bluish-green. For USDA zones 4 to 9.
  • S. x bumalda Sundrop™ First Editions® Series (‘Bailcarol’): Plant grows to 12 to 15 inches tall by 2 to 3 feet wide. Pink flowers during the summer are accented by golden yellow foliage. For USDA zones 3 to 8.
  • S. x bumalda ‘Fire Light’: Orange new growth matures to golden yellow. Flowers are produced in the summer and are pink. Has fiery red fall color. Plants grow to 2 to 3 feet tall and 4 to 5 feet wide. For USDA zones 4 to 7 (8).
  • S. x Big Bang™ Double Play® Series (‘Tracy’ PP2158): Plants grow to 2 to 3 feet tall and wide. New foliage growth is a bright pumpkin orange and matures to a yellow-gold for summer and fall. Flowers are pink. For USDA zones 3 to 9b.
  • S. x Solar Flare (‘Zelda’ PP21976): New leaves are orange-red and mature to a bright yellow with orange tips. It has large clusters of pink flowers in summer. For USDA zones 4 to 8.
  • S. x bumalda Little Bonnie™ Dwarf Spirea (‘BL0601’): Plants grow to 2 to 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Has profuse lavender-pink blooms in spring and sporadically in summer.

Spiraea x bumalda ‘Anthony Waterer’

Phonetic Spelling spy-REE-ah BY boo-MAHL-dah Description

Spiraea x bumalda ‘Anthony Waterer’, is a popular cultivar of Spiraea japonica. Spiraea japonica is a dense, upright, mounded, deciduous shrub that typically grows to 6 feet tall with a slightly larger spread. The cultivar, ‘Anthony Waterer’, is a more compact version that grows to 2 to 3 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide. Like japonica, ‘Anthony Waterer” leaves grow to 3 inches long and are oval and sharply-toothed. New foliage emerges with reddish purple tinting in spring, matures to blue-green by summer and finally turns reddish in fall. However, unlike japonica’s pink flowers, ‘Anthony Waterer” has carmine red flowers in flattened corymbs (to 6 inches wide) in a showy bloom from late spring to mid-summer. The flowers attract butterflies and, to maximize bloom, you should site the plant in full sun. You can also extend the bloom by removing spent blossoms. Also, unlike japonica, ‘Anthony Waterer’ has a more compact form and requires little pruning to maintain a neat size, making it ideal in the foreground of shrub borders.

The ‘Anthony Waterer’ cultivar grows easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. It tolerates a wide range of soils, but prefers rich, moist loams. The plant flowers on new wood, so prune in late winter to early spring if needed. Like most spiraea, it can be aggressive through seeding and suckers and is known to have escaped gardens and naturalized in many areas of the eastern U.S.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:

This plant may be damaged by deer. No known serious insect or disease problems. Spiraeas are generally susceptible to many of the diseases and insects that attack other rose family members, including leaf spot, fire blight, root rot, aphids, leaf roller and scale.

Cultivars / Varieties: Tags: #deciduous#fall color#shrub#cpp#flowering shrub#butterfly friendly

Anthony Waterer Spirea – Potted Plants

Add changing color to your landscape year-round! Anthony Waterer Spirea is a spreading garden shrub taking on a dense, upright, mounded form. Flat-topped clusters feature an abundance of tiny pink flowers. The oval, sharp-toothed leaves emerge wine-red to maroon maturing to a dark green in the fall. This bushy, multi-stemmed shrub takes on a more or less rounded form and provides wonderful contrast in shrub borders. It is best to plant this spirea where it will receive full sun. Anthony Waterer Spirea is not particular about soil type, but like most plants when planted in richer soil, you can expect faster growth and more blooms.


  • You are purchasing a multipack of Anthony Waterer Spirea
  • Attracts butterflies, bird friendly
  • Easy care
  • Dramatic foliage color
  • Compact form, dwarf plant
  • Note: Images are of mature plants
  • Botanical Name: Spirea x bumalda ‘Anthony Waterer’
  • Mature Size: 3′-5′ x 3′-5′
  • Soil: Adaptable, well-drained
  • Hardiness Zone: 4-9
  • Sun Exposure: Partial to full sun
  • Bloom: Pink bloom in summer
  • Characteristics: Deciduous shrub
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Suggested Uses: Divider along a path or sidewalk, container, feature plant, foundation, hedges, mixed border, rock garden/wall

Japanese Spirea, Japanese Meadowsweet, Maybush ‘Anthony Waterer’



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown – Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown – Tell us


Unknown – Tell us

Bloom Color:



Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown – Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown – Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Unknown – Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From leaf cuttings

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


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

Fayette, Alabama

Juneau, Alaska

Susanville, California

Wallingford, Connecticut

Crawfordville, Florida

Braselton, Georgia

Chickamauga, Georgia

Decatur, Georgia

Marietta, Georgia

Aurora, Illinois

Champaign, Illinois

Lombard, Illinois

Fort Wayne, Indiana

Ragley, Louisiana

Scott, Louisiana

Orono, Maine

Baltimore, Maryland

Takoma Park, Maryland

Valley Lee, Maryland

Saugus, Massachusetts

Ludington, Michigan

Flowood, Mississippi

Los Alamos, New Mexico

Ithaca, New York

Peekskill, New York

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Lake Toxaway, North Carolina

Belfield, North Dakota

Enid, Oklahoma

Owasso, Oklahoma

Blodgett, Oregon

Schwenksville, Pennsylvania

West Chester, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Longueuil, Quebec

Florence, South Carolina

North Augusta, South Carolina

Emory, Texas

Granbury, Texas

Iredell, Texas

Sugar Land, Texas

Farmington, Utah

Disputanta, Virginia

Lexington, Virginia

Bellingham, Washington

Twisp, Washington

show all

Spirea Anthony Waterer

Botanical name: Spiraea x bumalda

Pronunciation: spy-REE-uh

Family: Rosaceae (Rose)

Origin: Northern Hemisphere

Class: Shrub

Display period: Late June

Height: 2 to 4 feet

Environment: Sun

Each time I looked at my spirea Anthony Waterer — which waquite often when it was in bloom — my self-esteem soared. From a small piece of root I acquired at a plant auction 35 years ago, I produced, with no special effort, a 4-foot-tall by 5-foot-wide shrub.

The deep rose blossoms that cover the plant when it’s in bloom — at a time when most other blooming shrubs have called it a day — make nice filler in a flower arrangement. And although it produces its greatest show all at once, the plant continues to put out occasional blossoms through much of the summer. The normally green foliage, too, is apt to send up wayward sprigs of yellow or variegated leaves, adding interest to the shrub’s character.

Spirea Anthony Waterer (in the common-name form, spirea is spelled without the extra “a” that the generic name carries) is said to be one of the most widely planted of all the summer-blooming spireas. Bridal wreath (S. prunifolia), an earlier blooming white species of the same genus, enjoys the same popularity in spring.

A spirea’s flowering period determines its time of pruning. The early bloomers are thinned of old wood (rather than cut back) right after blossoming. The summer bloomers, if shortened at all — for unless the quality and number of flower clusters need

improving, pruning is not necessary — are clipped before shrubs leaf out.

Because they remain relatively immune to polluted air, spireas make fine plants for city gardens. And while they’ll adjust to most any soil, they perform best in a moist, rich loam, although not one that stays wet.

Spiraea’s name derives from speiraira, the Greek term for a plant with flexible branches that was used in making garlands. Anthony Waterer, a nurseryman, developed the hybrid named for him from a sport of the regular species.

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