Spiraea thunbergii ‘Ogon’

golden Thunberg's spirea

golden bridalwreath spirea

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

This deciduous shrub is noted for its very early flowering time. wispy habit, and golden leaves. In late March and early April, before its leaves have unfurled, its slender branches are covered with dazzling white flowers borne in numerous clusters. Its feathery leaves emerge gold ("ogon" means gold in Japanese) and gradually change to bright green, creating a pleasing contrast with other, more stolid shrubs. In autumn its leaves turn bright orange and remain on the plant almost until Christmas in some years. Its twiggy, slender branches arch and flounce, giving golden Thunberg's spirea a uniquely soft textural quality.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: spreading shrub

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 3 ft. 6 in. (1.07 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 3 ft. 6 in. (1.07 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 5 ft. 0 in. (1.52 meters)

Plant Width-Mature: 5 ft. 0 in. (1.52 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 to 8

Flower Color: white

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun to light or open shade

Water Requirements: regular watering

Seasonal Interest: early spring flowers, golden foliage, & autumn color

Wildlife Associations: bees, butterflies

Colors & Combos

Great Plant Combinations: It looks good with Chamaecyparis obtusa cultivars, Corylopsis, Cotinus, Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Goshiki', or Rhododendron 'Taurus'. Play off its great autumn color by planting it with Hamamelis, Fothergilla, and Cotinus. Underplant it with snowdrops and other spring-flowering bulbs. And the choices of perennials partners, particularly those with golden foliage, are almost unlimited.

Great Color Contrasts: burgundy, gold, purple

Great Color Partners: dark green, chartreuse, blue

Culture Notes
This small spirea prefers full sun to light or open shade. Plant it in rich moist to well-drained soil, although it will tolerate clay if the drainage is adequate. Provide regular water to this small shrub to keep it looking its best through the summer. A few older stems can be pruned to the ground immediately after flowering every year. Alternatively, cut the entire shrub back to six to eight inches tall after it blooms every three or four years and allow it to regrow.