There is a bank of ‘Renaissance’ spireas planted at Moss Mountain Farm that blooms in early March just as the daffodils are finishing up and the bearded irises are coming on. I couldn’t ask for a more beautiful display from a shrub that asks for almost nothing in return.

‘Renaissance’ is composed of gracefully arching stems with small oval leaves and clusters of tiny white flowers that appear in early spring before the leafing out. In summer the glossy green foliage provides a neutral backdrop in the garden. Reaching a height of 6 to 10 feet with an equal spread, this old-fashioned shrub makes a beautiful deciduous hedge or plant it in a mixed border as a spring focal point. In the fall the foliage turns a nice orange-red before it drops in winter.

This is a carefree shrub that requires very little attention. Plant it in full sun to partial shade, in well-drained soil – soggy soil is about the only condition ‘Renaissance’ won’t tolerate. Mother Nature usually provides enough water for spirea, but they perform best with about one inch of water per week. Feed in early spring, just before the blooms appear with an all-purpose fertilizer. Follow the package instructions for application methods and rate.

‘Renaissance’ looks best when it is allowed to grow as a large, arching shrub so place it in a spot where it has room to spread. Pruning is only necessary to maintain the shape and remove dead branches. As with other spring flowering shrubs, pruning should be done immediately after the bloom cycle. If you have an older shrub that needs some TLC, cut it back to about one foot from the ground and it will grow back more vigorous. This treatment may cause the shrub to skip a year of blooms, but they’ll be more plentiful than ever the follow spring.