Height – 2′-4′ spread 3′-5′
Medium to wet Soil
Tolerates clay or sandy soil, deer and rabbit resistant
Special value to native bees
Steeplebush, Hardhack, Rosy Meadowsweet — whatever you call it, Spiraea tomentosa is a beautiful, easy-to-grow addition to your landscape. In autumn, its bright reddish-gold fall colors brings a golden hue to the landscape.
Plant Rosy Meadowsweet in full sun for best flowering. A moist or wet area in your landscape will be perfect, as would average garden soil. Avoid dry areas. It spreads by suckers and can form colonies, making is useful for a low hedge/screen or erosion control. Perfect for a cottage garden, rain garden, or bog garden.
The flowers bloom mid-summer to early autumn. The woody stems often die down to the ground during the winter. It flowers on new wood, so will still flower even if it does die back. If you need to prune it, prune in late winter or early spring.
Meadowsweet is a larval host plant for the Columbia silkmoth (Hyalophora columbia), the Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon). The rare Karner Blue butterfly has been seed nectaring on the flowers. Plus, the caterpillars of some moths also feed on the leaves. While moths may not be considered beautiful, they play an important role in the ecosystem and have wonderful names. Those that utilize meadowsweet are Scallop Shell Moth, Sharp-Lined Yellow, Blind-Eyed Sphinx, Gordian Sphinx, Northern Apple Sphinx, and Spiraea Leaf-Tier Moth.
White-Tailed Deer have been known to browse on Steeplebush, it is not preferred as a source of food because of the bitter and astringent foliage.
The map below shows its native range. It is found in wet meadows, marshes, fields, and lake margins.