Great Design Plant: Ogon Spirea for Radiance and Texture

Great Design Plant: Ogon Spirea for Radiance and Texture

I’m always on the lookout for easy-care shrubs with great foliage that are drought tolerant and deer resistant. Ogon spirea is that and much more — it’s among those earliest-blooming shrubs in my garden and among the past to lose its leaves.

Its wispy texture highlights bolder plantings, while its bright colour makes it effortless to unite with other garden plants, including sparkle to warmer colors and high contrast to richer purple and burgundy tones.

I’ve utilized Ogon spirea in foundation plantings, combined with Japanese maples in a woodland garden and beneath a Katsura tree (Cercidophyllum japonicum) in a large mixed border, where its orange autumn color echoes that of the tree’s caramel-scented leaves. Do consider the autumn color of any company plants — finely textured Japanese maples with yellow blossom foliage won’t look so striking as those with larger leaves that take on fiery colors of orange and red, for instance.

Le jardinet

Botanical name: Spiraea thunbergii ‘Ogon’
Common names: Ogon spirea, syn. Mellow Yellow spirea
Origin: Native to Japan and China
Where it will grow: Hardy to -20 degrees Fahrenheit (USDA zones 5 to 2; find your zone)
Water necessity: Average to non
Light requirement: Full sunlight for smartest colour but will even grow in partial shade
Mature dimension: 5 ft tall and broad but can be pruned smaller
Benefits and tolerances: Drought tolerant; deer resistant; will grow in a Wide Selection of soils; attracts butterflies
Seasonal interest: Spring through autumn
When to plant: Spring or autumn

Le jardinet

Distinguishing traits. Clusters of white flowers decorate the twiggy branches in early spring even before the leaves have unfurled. The wispy, feathery foliage opens gold yellow before maturing to chartreuse in summertime and then warm colors of crimson in autumn.

How to use it:
Foundation shrubWoodland edgeMixed borderColor accentLow hedge

Alyson Ross Markley

Combination Ideas

1. Purples. Chartreuse and purple consistently make an exciting colour combination, and there are many purple-leaved plants to pick from.

Inside this garden Ogon spirea contrasts beautifully with all the foliage of Velvet Cloak smoke bush (Cotinus coggygria‘Velvet Cloak’), Japanese maples and black mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus‘Nigrescens’), as well as the vibrant magenta rhododendron blooms

The wonderful lime green of the spirea is replicated in Golden Spirit smoke bush (Cotinus coggygria‘Golden Spirit’) and Bowles’ golden sedge (Carex elata‘Aurea’).

With splashes of bright green implanted in a zigzag fashion along the length of the pathway, the garden travel grows more interesting and the distance looks larger than it truly is.

Form and Foliage

2. Blues. Inside this landscape the designer has added soft blue to the color palette with a prostrate coniferin the foreground and an vertical blue conifer behind. This brings out the blue tones in the dark foliage of the Grace smoke bush (Cotinus coggygria ‘Grace’) and softens the overall plot.

This is a beautiful example of a low-maintenance yet colorful landscape layout.

Westover Landscape Design, Inc..

3. Pastels. Softer colors can at times seem washed out, particularly as the season advances. Nevertheless, if pastels are paired with a dash of chartreuse, the combination looks refreshing and can span the seasons with style.

Inside this edge Ogon spirea adds structure to the layout as well as supports and enhances the paler lilac and blue tones of the adjoining perennials.

Notice: Ogon spirea may be invasive in some areas. Check with your regional cooperative extension or county extension office prior to planting it.

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