Spiraea × vanhouttei, called Vanhoutte spiraea or Bridal Wreath, is a an artifical hybrid plant in the Rosaceae (rose) family. This vase-shaped, deciduous, flowering shrub has cane-like branching that arches gracefully toward the ground. It is a hybrid cross between S. trilobata x S. cantoniensis that is noted for its showy spring blooms and hardy nature. The plant typically reaches a height of 8 feet with a slightly larger spread. The genus name comes from the Greek word speira meaning wreath in reference to the showy flower clusters seen on most shrubs in the genus.
Vanhoutte spiraea is easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. It tolerates light shade, but for best blooms, you should site the plant in full sun. It does well in a wide range of soils, including clay, and tolerates some drought. If pruning is desired, prune immediately after flowering.
This particular hybrid is commonly planted for its color; tiny white flowers (each to 1/3 of an inch in diameter) that appear in spring, 1 to 2 weeks after the parent plant (S. cantoniensis), in 2 inch clusters that profusely cover the leafy branching. The foliage consists of small, dark blue-green leaves. Fall color is usually undistinguished, but attractive purplish hues may sometimes develop.
Mass plant in the back of a border, along a walkway, or use as an accent plant in a butterfly garden. It works well as a hedge or barrier planting to obscure an unattractive view in the landscape.