Spiraea Palmata - Hardy Perennial
Author: John Wood
Spiraea Palmata Described.
Spiraea Palmata - Spiræa Palmata -
Palm-like Spiræa; Nat. Ord. Rosaceæ.
A bold and handsome species from China, imported about sixty years ago. It is
perfectly hardy, though, generally grown in pots and under glass. It belongs
to the herbaceous section, and I may as well state at once that the Spiræas—more
especially the herbaceous kinds—are only decorative when in flower, by
which I wish to convey the idea that after they have done flowering, from their abundant
foliage, which then begins to turn sere and ragged, they become unsightly if planted in conspicuous parts. Still, their flowers and general habit are both
rich and handsome when in their prime, and they are certainly worth growing, especially by those who have large gardens, where they can be planted in large
patches in some of the less frequented parts.
S. palmata (illustrated) has remarkably bright rosy-crimson flowers; they
are of indistinct form unless closely examined. It is, however, a well-known
form of flower, or arrangement of flowers, and need not be further described,
beyond saying they are in panicles and have a feathery appearance. The leaves,
which are 6in. or more across, have long smooth stems, are mostly seven-lobed,
the lobes being long, pointed, and unevenly serrated. The size of foliage and
height of plants vary very much; if grown in a bog or by the side of a stream,
it attains the height of 3ft. to 4ft.; in drier situations I have seen it flower
when only 10in. high. The specimen illustrated is about 15in. high.
A light spongy vegetable soil, with plenty of moisture, is the main requirement
of most of the Spiræas, and to grow them to perfection little less will
do; but a creditable display of bloom may be enjoyed from plants grown in ordinary
garden loam, provided the situation is moist. By way of experiment, I planted
a dozen roots of this species in an exposed border, drained, and in all respects
the same as for the ordinary run of border flowers. They none of them flowered,
and scarcely grew; at no time would they be higher than 6in. I wish to make it
clear that the Spiræas, and especially S. palmata, cannot be grown and
bloomed well without an abundance of moisture at the roots, as I am aware that
many have tried and failed with this desirable kind. It should be treated as
a bog plant, then it can scarcely fail to do well. In sunk parts of rockwork,
by the walk gutters, by the side of a pond or stream, or (if there is one) in
the hedge dyke, are all suitable places for this bright flower, and if only for
the fine spikes which it produces for cutting purposes, it should be grown largely;
and as most of the positions indicated are somewhat out of the way, they may
perhaps be the more readily thus appropriated. Propagated by division of strong
roots during autumn.
Flowering period, July and August.
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