Ash Leaf Spirea | Sorbaria sorbifolia

Ash Leaf Spirea, Sorbaria sorbifolia
Ash Leaf Spirea

Ash Leaf Spirea, Sorbaria sorbifolia

The Ash Leaf Spirea can be very invasive. It has a strong rhizome habit, and suckering is a given. This habit can be suppressed in landscapes where weed barriers like poly and fabric are used. But eventually, those rhizomes will find their way to the edge and emerge. This can especially be a nuisance when the suckers are emerging up against the foundation of buildings.

When planting in wood mulch or soil beds without weed barriers, your shrub will spread 8-10 feet within five years. Surprisingly though, it is not that hard to manage the suckers if you address the issue a few times a year and quickly sever the new suckers with a shovel. The plant has so many excellent qualities that it is still worth growing in your gardens. But now you've been warned.

Main characteristics of the Ash Leaf Spirea:

  • Hardiness: Zone 2-8
  • Size: 5-8’ H x 5-8’ W
  • Flowers: Creamy white, June-July
  • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Foliage: Lime green

The photos below show you the progression of the Ash Leaf Spirea through the season. I love the feathery white spring flowers and the "dried flower look" that remains as the flowers finish blooming. 

The False Spirea can be rejuvenated every year if you prefer. It is a fast grower, and you will get showy blooms on the new wood each season. Our video here shows you the pruning process:

You may also see references list Ash Leaf Spirea as Ural False Spirea, False Spirea, or False Goats Beard. This illustrates the importance of scientific names where each plant is given (hopefully) only one name.

It allows plant lovers and scientists to communicate about plants, assuring we have the same plant in mind when discussing. The scientific system uses the Latin language, and it is typical to see the genus, species, and variety listed along with the (sometimes many) common name of a plant. 

It is also helpful to know that the Latin language is very descriptive. Sorbus sorbifolia is the scientific name of the Ash Leaf Spirea. Sorbus likely comes from the genus Sorbus (Mountain Ash), which has a similar leaf. "Ash Leaf" is likely used in the common name due to its similarity to the Green Ash leaf. Whenever you see "pseudo" in a Latin name, you know you are dealing with a false characteristic since pseudo means false.

Garden Hike is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on this site, we may earn a small commission at no additional charge to you. Thank you.

Click A.M.Leonard’s banner below to check out their great selection of tools and supplies.

A.M. Leonard Metal Logo

There are two newer varieties of Ash Leaf Spirea worth mentioning.

  • Sem False Spirea, Sorbaria sorbifolia ‘Sem’
  • Matcha Ball Ash Leaf Spirea, Sorbaria sorbifolia ‘Levgreen’

Sem has pinkish-red new spring leaf growth turning chartreuse with bronze tips, a smaller growth habit, staying around 4' x 4', and similar showy white flowers. I suspect this variety will replace the straight species in the nursery trade. More information and additional photos can be seen at the website.

Matcha Ball is the most compact variety of all varieties discussed so far. The new leaf growth has hints of red and orange peach maturing into a Matcha-like green color. This is a First Editions introduction where you can find additional information.

Thanks for stopping by Garden Hike!