Description & Overview

Here at Johnson’s Nursery, we are often asked for ‘a plant that blooms all the time’, and so often do we have to educate customers that there isn’t a plant in our climate that would be blooming all the time and to ask that of a plant is like asking people to always be able to make a baby. It exhausts resources and isn’t sustainable!

Thanks to genetics, there’s now a spirea that blooms the entire growing season. Enter Double Play Spirea! This is a seedless cultivar, which forces the plant to put all of its resources into flower production. In early spring, the new growth emerges bright red, followed by an outstanding display of red-purple flowers that will turn heads. Flowers will continue to bloom through summer into the fall!

This plant is no longer in production. The product info remains for informational purposes.

Core Characteristics

Category: Shrub

Wisconsin Native: No - Introduced

USDA Hardiness Zone: to zone 3

Mature Height: 2-3 feet

Mature Spread: 2-3 feet

Growth Rate: Fast

Growth Form: Mounded, compact

Light Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade

Site Requirements: Average to moist, well drained soil.

Flower: Red-purple

Bloom Period: May-September, Late Spring to fall

Foliage: Green

Fall Color: Yellow to red shades

Urban Approved: Yes

Fruit Notes: Seedless

Suggested Uses

Plant Double Play Pink Spirea in an area where it can get at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. It will tolerate as little as 4 hours, but flower production will be reduced. Spireas prefer soils that are consistently moist, but will tolerate some drought and is tough enough to handle urban conditions.

This plant really shines when planted in groups of 3 or more. The abundant flowers clustered together are truly a sight to see in the garden! Not only will Double Play Pink Spirea function in a group, but is useful as a low hedge or barrier, too. It’s forgiving with shearing, and will grow nicely together to create a unified hedge.

Try along a walkway or on the edge of a shrub bed. Its compact habit won’t flop onto the sidewalk or path. You can also experiment with Double Play Pink Spirea as the ‘filler’ in a container planting; just be sure to bring the container in an outdoor shed or garage for winter!

Wildlife Value

The first thing we noticed attracted to Double Play Pink Spirea are the sheer amount of bees and butterflies visiting the flowers. While technically a hybrid of non-native spireas there are some insects that use spireas as a host plant. These include: Spirea Leaftier (Evora hemidesma) and Rheumaptera undulata.

Other visitors may include Red-spotted Purples (Limenitis arthemis), Two-spotted Skippers (Euphyes bimacula), hoverflies, bumblebees, hummingbirds, and small carpenter bees.

Maintenance Tips

This is a low maintenance plant. You may choose to lightly shear after its first bloom in spring, this will promote a flush of bright red new growth! Use the haircut method.

Every couple of years, remove the oldest stems to maintain the plant’s vigor. Use the thinning cuts method.

Plants bloom on new wood.

Pests/Problems

Black Walnut Tolerant: No
Deer Resistant: Yes
Rabbit Resistant: Yes

Deer and rabbits tend to leave spireas alone. They may have stunted growth when planted near Black Walnuts.

Leaf Lore

Double Play Pink Spirea is a hybrid from a controlled cross of Spiraea ‘Zelda’ PP21,976, a diploid, and an unpatented, tetraploid Japanese spirea (Spiraea japonica). This renders the plant seedless, thus not invasive.

Spiraea is derived from the Greek word, speiraira, which was a plant used for garlands (Smith, A.W. A Gardener’s Handbook of Plant Names. Dover Publications. 1997/1963. pp.319)

Spireas are members of the rose family, Rosaceae.

Spireas symbolize wealth, fortune, and prosperity.

Companion Plants

Looking for something like Double Play Pink Spirea, both in size, habit, or plenty of flowers? We recommend at least one of these to help check some of those boxes:

  • Dwarf Bush Honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera)
  • Yuki Cherry Blossom Deutzia (Deutzia x ‘NCDX2’ PP28,347)
  • Bobo Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ‘ILVOBO’ PP22,782)
  • Kalm’s St. John’s Wort (Hypericum kalmianum)
  • Wine & Roses Weigela (Weigela florida ‘Alexandra’ PP10,772)
  • Kodiak Orange Bush Honeysuckle (Diervilla x ‘G2X88544’ PP27,548)
  • Little Joker Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Hoogi021’ PP27,986)
  • Gold Tide Forsythia (Forsythia x ‘Courtasol’ PP9,104)
  • Goldfinger Potentilla (Dasiphora fruticosa ‘Goldfinger’)
  • Low Scape Mound Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa ‘UCONNAM165’ PP28,789)
  • Sugar Shack Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis ‘SMCOSS’ PP26,543)
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Written by Beth DeLain