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Spiraea douglasii

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Rosaceae (Rose)
Also in this family:
Acute Leaf-lobed Lady's-mantle, Alpine Cinquefoil, Alpine Lady's-mantle, Ampfield Cotoneaster, Arran Service Tree, Arran Whitebeam, Barren Strawberry, Bastard Agrimony, Bastard Service Tree, Bearberry Cotoneaster, Bird Cherry, Blackthorn, Bloody Whitebeam, Bramble, Bristol Whitebeam, Broad-leaved Whitebeam, Broadtooth Lady's-mantle, Bronze Pirri-pirri-bur, Bullace Plum, Bullate Cotoneaster, Burnet Rose, Catacol Whitebeam, Caucasian Lady's-mantle, Cheddar Whitebeam, Cherry Laurel, Cherry Plum, Chinese Photinia, Cloudberry, Clustered Lady's-mantle, Common Agrimony, Common Hawthorn, Common Lady's-mantle, Common Medlar, Common Ninebark, Common Whitebeam, Crab Apple, Creeping Chinese Bramble, Creeping Cinquefoil, Crimean Lady's-mantle, Cultivated Apple, Cultivated Pear, Cut-leaved Blackberry, Damson, Devon Whitebeam, Dewberry, Diel's Cotoneaster, Dog Rose, Doward Whitebeam, Dropwort, Elm-leaved Bramble, English Whitebeam, Entire-leaved Cotoneaster, False Salmonberry, Field Rose, Firethorn, Fodder Burnet, Fragrant Agrimony, Franchet's Cotoneaster, Garden Lady's-mantle, Garden Strawberry, Giant Meadowsweet, Glaucous Dog Rose, Goatsbeard Spiraea, Gough's Rock Whitebeam, Great Burnet, Greengage Plum, Grey-leaved Whitebeam, Hairless Lady's-mantle, Hairy Lady's-mantle, Hautbois Strawberry, Himalayan Blackberry, Himalayan Cotoneaster, Himalayan Whitebeam, Hoary Cinquefoil, Hollyberry Cotoneaster, Hupeh Rowan, Hybrid Cinquefoil, Hybrid Geum, Irish Whitebeam, Japanese Cherry, Japanese Quince, Japanese Rose, Jew's Mallow, Juneberry, Lancaster Whitebeam, Late Cotoneaster, Least Lady's-mantle, Least Whitebeam, Leigh Woods Whitebeam, Ley's Whitebeam, Liljefor's Whitebeam, Littleleaf Cotoneaster, Llangollen Whitebeam, Llanthony Whitebeam, Lleyn Cotoneaster, Loganberry, Many-flowered Rose, Margaret's Whitebeam, Marsh Cinquefoil, Meadowsweet, Midland Hawthorn, Mougeot's Whitebeam, Mountain Ash, Mountain Avens, Mountain Sibbaldia, Moupin's Cotoneaster, No Parking Whitebeam, Ocean Spray, Orange Whitebeam, Pale Bridewort, Pale Lady's-mantle, Parsley Piert, Pirri-pirri-bur, Plymouth Pear, Portuguese Laurel, Purple-flowered Raspberry, Quince, Raspberry, Rock Cinquefoil, Rock Lady's-mantle, Rock Whitebeam, Round-leaved Dog Rose, Round-leaved Whitebeam, Rum Cherry, Russian Cinquefoil, Salad Burnet, Sargent's Rowan, Scannell's Whitebeam, Service Tree, Sharp-toothed Whitebeam, Sherard's Downy Rose, Shining Lady's-mantle, Ship Rock Whitebeam, Short-styled Rose, Shrubby Cinquefoil, Silver Lady's-mantle, Silverweed, Slender Parsley Piert, Slender-spined Bramble, Small-flowered Sweetbriar, Small-leaved Sweetbriar, Soft Downy Rose, Somerset Whitebeam, Sorbaria, Sour Cherry, Southern Downy Rose, Southern Lady's-mantle, Spineless Acaena, Spring Cinquefoil, St. Lucie's Cherry, Stern's Cotoneaster, Stirton's Whitebeam, Stone Bramble, Sulphur Cinquefoil, Swedish Service Tree, Swedish Whitebeam, Sweet Briar, Symond's Yat Whitebeam, Tengyueh Cotoneaster, Thimbleberry, Thin-leaved Whitebeam, Tibetan Cotoneaster, Tormentil, Trailing Tormentil, Tree Cotoneaster, Trefoil Cinquefoil, Twin-cliffs Whitebeam, Two-spined Acaena, Wall Cotoneaster, Water Avens, Waterer's Cotoneaster, Waxy Lady's-mantle, Welsh Cotoneaster, Welsh Whitebeam, White Burnet, White's Whitebeam, White-stemmed Bramble, Wild Cherry, Wild Pear, Wild Plum, Wild Service Tree, Wild Strawberry, Willmott's Whitebeam, Willow-leaved Bridewort, Willow-leaved Cotoneaster, Wineberry, Wood Avens, Wye Whitebeam, Yellow-flowered Strawberry
Deciduous shrub
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
150 centimetres tall
Hedgerows, meadows, riversides, roadsides, wasteland, waterside, wetland.

Pink, 5 petals
Clusters of rose pink flowers arranged in a flower spike. The spikes are approximately 8 inches long (20cm). The flowers fade to brown with age. Pollinated by insects.
The fruit is a pod. The fruit persists after the flowers have faded.
Oblong, oval, slightly, toothed leaves, up to 4 inches long (10cm). Very similar in appearance to Willow-leaved Bridewort (Spiraea pseudosalicifolia) only the leaves of Steeplebush are pale underneath due to the grey down.
The flowers are fragrant.
Other Names:
Douglas' Spirea, Hardhack, Menzies' Spirea, Rose Spiraea, Steeple Bush, Western Spiraea.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Spiraea douglasii, also known as Douglas spiraea or hardhack, is a perennial shrub that is native to western North America. It has small, white flowers that bloom in the summer and is known for its dense, multi-stemmed habit and its habitat in wetland. The plant is often found in wetland, meadows, and along the edges of ponds and rivers, and is valued for its attractive foliage and showy flowers. It is also known for its medicinal properties and has been used traditionally to treat a variety of ailments such as wound healing, wound cleaning, diuretic, and treatment of urinary tract infections.


Steeplebush, also known as Spiraea douglasii, is a beautiful and hardy shrub native to North America. It is often found growing in wetlands, marshes, and along stream banks, where its stunning pinkish-purple flowers attract a variety of pollinators.

Appearance and Characteristics

Steeplebush is a deciduous shrub that can grow up to 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide. It has thin, flexible branches and simple, toothed leaves that are about 2-4 inches long. The leaves are a bright green color and have a slightly hairy texture. In the summer months, Steeplebush produces dense, cone-shaped clusters of flowers that are made up of small, pinkish-purple blossoms. The flowers are very attractive to butterflies, bees, and other pollinators, making Steeplebush an excellent plant for creating wildlife habitat.

Growing and Caring for Steeplebush

Steeplebush is a relatively low-maintenance plant that is well-suited to a variety of growing conditions. It prefers moist, well-drained soil and can tolerate full sun to partial shade. In wetter conditions, Steeplebush will grow taller, while in drier soils, it will remain more compact.

One of the advantages of Steeplebush is its ability to grow in a variety of soil types, including sandy, loamy, and clay soils. It is also fairly tolerant of salt, making it a good choice for coastal gardens.

To plant Steeplebush, dig a hole that is about twice as wide as the root ball and as deep as the container. Place the plant in the hole and backfill with soil, making sure to water it thoroughly after planting. Steeplebush does not require regular pruning, but you can remove dead or damaged branches as needed.

Uses for Steeplebush

In addition to its ornamental value, Steeplebush has a number of other uses. It has astringent properties and has been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including diarrhea, dysentery, and menstrual cramps. The dried leaves and flowers can also be used to make a tea that is said to have a pleasant taste.

Steeplebush is also useful for erosion control and can be planted in wet areas to stabilize the soil. It is a good choice for rain gardens, bioswales, and other areas where water tends to collect.

Steeplebush is a beautiful and versatile shrub that deserves a place in any garden. Its stunning flowers and wildlife value make it an excellent choice for creating habitat and adding color to your landscape. Whether you're looking for a low-maintenance ornamental or a plant with practical uses, Steeplebush is definitely worth considering.

More Information

Steeplebush is a great choice for those looking to create a pollinator-friendly garden. Its flowers are a rich source of nectar for bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects. The shrub also provides cover and nesting habitat for birds, making it an excellent choice for wildlife gardens.

In addition to its attractive flowers, Steeplebush also has an interesting texture that can add visual interest to your garden. Its branches are thin and flexible, and the leaves have a slightly hairy texture that gives them a unique appearance. In the fall, the leaves turn a beautiful golden color, adding to the plant's appeal.

Steeplebush is also a great choice for those looking to create a low-maintenance garden. It is a hardy plant that can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions and does not require regular pruning. It is also relatively disease-resistant and can withstand mildew and other common plant diseases.

Steeplebush is a great plant to incorporate into rain gardens or other water-wise landscaping projects. It can help to control erosion and filter water runoff, making it a valuable addition to projects aimed at reducing water pollution.

Steeplebush is also a very versatile plant that can be used in a variety of landscaping settings. It can be planted as a specimen plant, massed for a more dramatic effect, or used to fill in gaps in a mixed border. It is also a great choice for naturalized landscapes, meadows, or other areas where a more informal look is desired.

As previously mentioned, Steeplebush has a variety of medicinal properties and has been used for centuries by indigenous cultures to treat a range of ailments. The plant contains tannins, flavonoids, and other compounds that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, astringent, and diuretic properties.

If you are looking to incorporate Steeplebush into your garden, it is important to remember that the plant may spread through root suckers, which can become invasive in certain situations. If you are planting Steeplebush in a smaller garden, be sure to monitor it carefully and remove any unwanted shoots as needed.

Steeplebush is a hardy and attractive shrub that is well-suited to a variety of growing conditions. Its stunning flowers, hardiness, and low maintenance make it a great choice for a variety of landscaping projects.

Steeplebush can also be used as a cut flower in floral arrangements. The plant's dense, cone-shaped clusters of pinkish-purple flowers make a great filler for bouquets or mixed arrangements. The flowers can last up to two weeks in a vase, making them a great choice for those looking to add some color to their home or office.

In terms of propagation, Steeplebush can be propagated from both seeds and stem cuttings. If you are looking to grow Steeplebush from seed, it is best to sow the seeds in the fall, as they require a period of cold stratification before they will germinate. If you are propagating from stem cuttings, take a 4-6 inch cutting from the current year's growth in the spring or early summer. Dip the cut end in rooting hormone and plant in a well-draining soil mix. Keep the cutting moist and in a partially shaded area until roots have formed, then transplant to a permanent location.

Steeplebush is a great choice for those looking to create a sustainable garden. It is a native plant that is well-suited to a variety of growing conditions and requires little to no pesticides or fertilizers. Additionally, by creating a garden that supports pollinators and other beneficial insects, you are helping to maintain a healthy ecosystem and promoting biodiversity in your local area.

In conclusion, Steeplebush is a versatile and attractive plant that can add beauty and value to any garden. Whether you are looking to attract pollinators, stabilize soil, or incorporate a medicinal plant into your landscape, Steeplebush is a great choice. With its hardiness, low maintenance, and versatility, Steeplebush is sure to provide years of enjoyment in your garden.


The Steeplebush filmed in Adlington, Lancashire on the 13th and 20th June 2023.


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