Spirea Transplanting Tips

Spirea is a deciduous shrub that grows well in hardiness zones 3 through 8. It may be planted as a hedge, border or specimen plant. With more than 100 species to choose from, spirea offers a myriad of possibilities for the home gardener. When it comes to transplanting spirea, however, there are some things to consider.

Transplanting Container Spirea

Spirea purchased in containers from a local nursery is the easiest to transplant. Consult the nursery or check the plant’s tags for specifics on height and width requirements and plan to space the plant in the garden between 2 to 15 feet apart--depending on how large the shrub will be at maturity. Some spireas grow 2 to 10 feet tall and 2 to 20 feet wide.

It helps to dry place the container spirea plants before digging the holes. Remember that spirea does best in full-sun, in soil that is moist and in soil that is well-drained.

Spirea plants bloom at different times. Some are spring bloomers, while others flower in summer. Either way, their blooming time is brief. After they have finished blooming, spireas form a green backdrop in your garden or landscape.

  • Dig the holes for spirea plants.
  • Tap the bottom and sides of the containers to loosen the plants before removing them.
  • Examine the root ball and gently ease apart fibrous roots that appear to be pot-bound.
  • Position the spirea plant in the freshly-dug hole and add some native soil around it to firm it in place.
  • Water the soil thoroughly so it absorbs the moisture.
  • Backfill with remaining soil and tamp down with fingers.
  • Mulch the base and at least 3 inches around the plant.
  • Addition of some beneficial fungi may be appropriate.

Transplanting Existing Spirea in the Garden

Once spirea becomes established in the garden, transplanting it to another area becomes a more difficult project. The smaller, summer-blooming spirea is easier to move than the larger, more traditional bridal veil varieties.

The best time to transplant a summer-blooming spirea is fall--through late October--or early spring. Bridal veil types are best moved in September. It is not necessary to prune spirea or severely cut it back unless it’s difficult to get at the trunk.

  • Make sure the soil is moist before attempting to dig up the root ball.
  • Start at about 12 inches from the trunk, working out in a circle and digging down until the plant loosens. This should yield a root ball that’s about 2 feet in diameter at the top.
  • Wrap the root ball in tarp, plastic or burlap to make transporting it to its new location easier.
  • Place the plant into a hole that’s been pre-dug and watered.
  • Keep the newly-transplanted spirea watered consistently during the first season. In essence, treat transplanted plants like new plants that have come from the nursery. Transplanted plants need a full growing season to re-establish themselves in the garden.

With careful planning and attention to the important steps, transplanting spirea needn’t be a chore. And the results will be well worth it come next growing season.