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Spirea failing to thrive

Hi all, 

I planted two Spirea's last April. Neither did particularly well. The worst one was replanted in the back garden and promptly died. So I was more patient with this one but it is not happy! 

I've enriched the soil thinking it could be that - hardly any change. Kept an eye on moisture - helped a little but still looks withered and sad. 

There are ants all over my garden - could these be the culprit? 

Could anyone have a quick look and advise whether I should continue to have hope.





It is trying to flower but I'm wondering if I should cut it right down, would that help it to grow stronger? 


  • Oops sorry I was sure I'd chosen Problem to post this in and I can't work out how to delete or move it!?

  • Kitty 2Kitty 2 Posts: 5,150

    No worries SweetEyedFish, I spotted you on "latest posts".

    I'm no expert on pests & diseases, but it looks a bit like a fungal problem.  Black spot and powdery mildew are the two that spring to mind. One of the others can probably advise better than me. image

    I've only had one spirea, a "billardii" type, which became heavily infested with scale insect.  I chose the easy option and hooked it out and binned it image.  Sorry I can't advise on pruning.

  • Thanks Kitty 2 

    I've looked those diseases up to see if there's any hope. I really can't see it coming back and it's a bit of a coincidence that the other spirea also died. It looks to me like black spot, although I couldn't see any brown withered leaves on the images I searched. Probably both diseases knowing my luck! image

    I'm tempted to get rid and renew the soil in that bed. There are two really healthy azalea's there and a climbing rose which is doing ok though. It doesn't get a lot of sun so that wouldn't help with the mildew if thats what it is.

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391

    They don't like wet feet so is the soil really well drained?  Overwatering can be an issue too.  Ideally they need full sun, a very well drained site and will only need watering occasionally in the summer.  They don't need much in the way of feeding either.  I wonder if you're killing it through too much kindness?

    Last edited: 10 June 2017 22:50:15

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Thanks Bob, 

    In that case, I'll try giving it  less water.  I'd sort of ignored it to be fair since last summer, giving it a chance after it's 'twin' gave up image It's only over the last couple of months I tried improving the soil and watering it more. 

    It probably only looked healthy for the first couple of months. Perhaps it's just not in the right place. It's north facing and gets probably only a couple of hours sun per day I'd say. 

    Would it do ok in a big pot? I could pot it up and locate it in full sun. I don't think I have space in my full sun border for it. 

  • plant pauperplant pauper Posts: 6,901

    With nothing to lose I would give it a good douse with Rose Spray, the type for black spot and fungusy things. Do that every week or so and ensure that you do the backs of the leaves thoroughly too. My mum brought a honeysuckle back from the brink by doing that. I promptly killed it with the lawnmower.image

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,942

    I find them hard to kill - and believe me, I've tried! I hate those pinky flowers  image

    Which variety is it? I've found they grow in almost any site,  and are happy enough with some shade, although I only grow the white varieties now. Perhaps you need to rethink positioning, but there might be something else that's causing the issue. Soil?

    You can keep them in pots though  image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • plant pauper, 

    Worth a shot right? I'll pick some up over the next couple of days and see how it responds to that. 


    I have laughed at the irony when I've looked this particular pesky plants' details up! 'Easy to grow', 'problem free' haha! Not if you're in my garden imageimage

    I have no flippin' idea which variety it is! image Bought well before I started keeping the tags and thinking about colour combo's and actually taking a proper interest. Back then, I probably thought I was doing well knowing what it was called, ha! I do recall pinkish flowers the first summer, nothing special though. 

    I do think it could be soil. That bed was where the old side hedge was years ago and although the soil was sieved by OH for weeds and had compost mixed in, I don't think it's a good enough soil. I can't really complain as I wasn't interested in gardening at all back then. There is a striking difference between the beds I've prepared and researched the plants for, so we have learned the lesson, essentially you get out what you put in I reckon. 

    Although the azalea's in that same bed are doing really well, nice lush green leaves and plenty of flowers. The rose did well last summer, abundant flowers although none this year?! Hmm, can soil harbour black spot disease per say? I've removed and destroyed a few black spotted leaves from the rose. It's certainly not dying. Also have a lush lobelia in same bed. 

    In terms of poor soul, haha typo but I just need to keep it, *soil*, is there a magic 'fix all' to improve soil, as in digging in manure, or are some soils just so bad they need to be scrapped? I have another narrow, overcrowded bed by the house where my honeysuckle is failing to thrive and I'm coming to the conclusion that our 'resident' soil is not much cop!

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