Plant of the Month June 2017

Inviting glimpses

Spiraea betulifolia ‘Tor’ – birchleaf spiraea

When designed with different flowering periods in mind, the garden can bloom in an array of colours throughout the year and always offer viewers something new to see. Particularly compact ground covers such as the birchleaf spiraea, ‘Tor’ make a lovely addition to any garden or public grounds with an impressive variety.   

Spiraea betulifolia 'Tor' is a Swedish elite selection featuring particularly compact growth and an abundance of flowers. The variety was rated ‘very good’ at the Bundesgehölzsichtung (‘German Shrub Selection’) in 2000. The variety is very hardy. Experiences from Sweden show that snow loads are very well tolerated. The load from cleared snow and associated exposure to salt also won't harm the plants.  

Spirea betulifola ‘Tor’ shows its best side in the middle of the year, in June, with its display of numerous flower umbels. Each umbel is composed of infinitely many minute tiny graceful flowers that which have five white petals arranged around the seed head. Spiraea betulifolia 'Tor' truly shows its beauty when used in free-growing or cut hedges, in groups as a flowering shrub over wide areas or decorative autumn colour accent. The plant enjoys an even denser and compact growth when regularly pruned. The dense foliage of this beautiful dwarf shrub shines in a bright green. The small and oval leaves with a jagged edge lie close to the branches and are very similar to the birch green. The branches themselves are very delicate and hardly recognizable by its foliage. In autumn, the foliage changes into a bold red which is very colourful and creates a stark contrast. Even when not in bloom, Spiraea betulifolia 'Tor' is a true ornamental piece in a local garden.  

Another selection in the Spirea betulifolia range is Spiraea betulifola ‘Tor Gold’® cultivated by Timmermann & Stolwijk. This new variety is similar in the growth to the ‘Tor’ variety yet with an interesting, yellow-green foliage with bronze-coloured shoots. This variety does suffer from burnt leaves in the summer and also features a very impressive red to reddish brown colour in autumn. Spiraea betulifola ‘Tor Gold’® was awarded a bronze medal at the Plantarium 2010 and is a very good colour alternative to the seasoned and very healthy Swedish elite selection Spirea betulifolia ‘Tor’.