Why plant Audubon® Native Meadow Sweet Spirea?
With warm summer days come the cool white spikes of Meadowsweet Spirea. This worthy native brings beauty and life to wild spaces and natural gardens all over the Northeast and Upper Midwest. The fragrant flowers attract a diverse array of pollinators, and the foliage feeds a variety of moth and butterfly larvae. Birds bob among the branches in search of caterpillar meals, and many find safety in the cover of Meadowsweet’s twiggy branches. Indigo Buntings, goldfinches, Song Sparrows, Field Sparrows, and Redwing Blackbirds have been known to build a nest and raise a family there.
In some areas, Meadowsweet Spirea, along with its close relative, Steeplebush, can supply suitable food to up to one hundred different species of moth and butterfly caterpillars. Some of these can only feed on Spireas, just as the monarch butterfly can only feed on Milkweeds. Some of the more remarkable insects that Meadowsweet supports include the beloved woolly bear caterpillar (which becomes the Isabella tiger moth), the spring azure butterfly, and the sharp-lined yellow moth, which mimics a yellow leaf. The apple sphinx, a type of hawk moth, also feeds on Spireas. Hawk moths are notable for being the second-fastest flying insect in the world (after dragonflies).
How to use Audubon® Native Meadow Sweet Spirea in the landscape?
Meadowsweet Spirea’s blossoms offer both nectar and pollen, and they draw in a multitude of pollinators. You may see honey bees, bumblebees, miner bees, masked bees, and sweat bees visiting them, along with butterflies, hoverflies, beneficial wasps, and beetles.
Hardiness Zone: 3-8
How To Plant Audubon® Native Meadow Sweet Spirea
Meadowsweet Spirea is native to wetland areas; likewise, in the landscape it grows most luxuriantly in constantly damp soil. However, this tough plant is surprisingly adaptable, and once established it can handle a fair amount of dryness. Plant it in full sun or light shade. This fast-growing Accent expands steadily via suckers; do not site it near small, delicate plants. Pruning can be accomplished at any time. If Meadowsweet gets unruly or overgrown, you can simply cut it to the ground in early spring, and it will rejuvenate itself quickly.
How To Fertilize
Incorporate Elements Starter Plant food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer, start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant food granular form on an annual basis each late fall. Continue this for the first three years to get your plant well established.