Spiraea thunbergii

Origin and Distribution

Thunberg’s meadowsweet is a small bush, which belongs to the rose family and is originally native to Japan and China. There are approximately 80 different species of meadowsweet of which Thunberg’s meadowsweet is one of the most popular.


Spiraea thunbergii is a deciduous, slowly growing, small shrub. It has petite and elegant shoots. The shrubs have a rather loose habitus; they can reach a height of 1.2 m. The leaves are wispy and grass-like; they sprout early in spring and stick on the shrubs a long time into autumn. The beautiful autumn colouring ranges from yellow to orange and red. During March and April until May Thunberg’s meadowsweet will show its numerous small white flowers. The plant is not very demanding, when it comes to soil. It can handle drought during summer times just as good as it can handle calcareous soil. However, due to its early shoot and flowering Thunberg’s meadowsweet is more appropriate for protected locations.  

Garden Design

Thunberg’s meadowsweet is easy to handle, very robust and a long-term early spring bloomer. Thus it is a widespread ornamental shrub.

In contrast to many other Spiraea species, Thunberg’s meadowsweet tolerates shady locations surprisingly well. The combination of its fresh green foliage and its white flowers is a perfect attraction for off-sun places in the garden. Due to its slenderness and small size Spiraea thunbergii is very suitable for small gardens as well. Thunberg’s meadowsweet looks the most beautiful, when it is arranged in small groups. It will loosen up every mixed border thanks to its grass-like leaves and its petite and elegant appearance. Thunberg’s meadowsweet can also be used as a low growing hedge plant.