Invasion of the Spirea; or, the plot thickens

And now for something completely different.  Gardening.  Having visited Baltimore earlier this month, I am thinking spring, even though we had an actual snow-day two days ago and I can no longer see my own crocus sprouts.

Spirea as a weed?!

This is bugging me. What is with the spirea in my front garden?  It’s re-sprouting from roots and self-seeding! I’ve never seen this before, and I’ve had my own spirea in gardens since, let’s think now, 1998.


Evil root trick

It first started the sprouting-from-roots trick in either 2007 or 2008. In early spring, I had decided to prune back the three bushes really hard – like, almost down to the ground.  They looked good after that, but at the same time some of their roots got uncovered by erosion from a downspout. These roots began to sprout ‘new’ plants.  I thought it might be this other ground cover I’d bought at the RBG May sale, but nope, it’s matching spireas.

Baby spirea from seed

WTF. Spirea growing from seed. It’s self-seeding in a radius of about a meter around the original shrubs.  This was absolutely not happening in the first couple of years we lived here.  I think this coincided with the beginning of the evil root growths too.

Is it cross-pollinating from something new planted by me or a neighbor, and now suddenly producing viable seed?  If that’s the case, why isn’t the spirea in the back yard setting seed too?  Glad that it’s not, because this is almost weedlike in proliferation, but still.

Could it be cross-pollinating with the false spirea from next door?  I’ve had that pop up as a seed volunteers in a couple of places, I think.  But the timing still does not make sense – the false spirea’s been there all along and yet these seedlings are a new phenomenon.

Living dangerously, I transplanted some of the babies to the back yard, to fill in a newly denuded border area.

The plot thickens

Oh, I slay me.

Did that one hard pruning trip some genetic switch and make one of those spireas into an aggressive super spirea?

Is the fertile plant just one of the sprouted-from-roots gals, or did one or more of the original bushes become fertile for whatever reason?

If I don’t allow any of the volunteers to flower this year, will that prevent new seeds?  That would provide some good data about this.

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  1. #1 by Sandy M. on June 1, 2011 - 7:32 am

    Hello, visitor to my site. I notice that I get a fair number of search hits on spirea – just tell me – has this happened in YOUR garden? No? LMK! 🙂

  1. A Jumble of Spiraeas (via Secrets of a Seed Scatterer) « Bibliophage91's Blog

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