Spiraea thunbergii 'Ogon'
Thunberg Spirea
 
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Family: Rose family (Rosaceae)
Native Habitat: Japan

'Ogon' is a fantastic three-season shrub. Not only is it a wonderful ornamental in form, foliage and flower, its ornamental interest begins very early in spring and lasts quite late in the fall. The cultivar name even sounds exotic- 'Ogon'. In truth, it simply means "gold" in Japanese.

In early April here in Indiana, before the leaves emerge, an impressive display of clusters of small white flowers covers the branches. The flowers last for three to four weeks and are still amazingly effective even after the leaves have emerged and are growing to their full size. The show then continues after the flowers fall. The bright-golden foliage is often flushed with reddish highlights in spring and the leaves hold their bright color well through the summer. Other authors claim that the leaves fade to yellowish-green in summer but that has definitely not been our experience since the late 1990's when we began growing it. In fall the leaves again take on a reddish or orangeish cast and they usually do not drop until some time in November.

 

Ornamental Characteristics:
Small, narrow, bright-golden leaves that take on red or orange highlights in fall. White flowers in very early spring. Is the first Spiraea to flower.
Habit & Growth Rate:
Rounded shrub growing to 3 or 4 ft. high and wide. Medium growth rate.
Landscape Uses: Foundation plantings, shrub border, mixed border. Deer resistant.
Hardiness: Zone 5 to 8.
Culture:
Easily grown in average garden soil. Full sun to light shade. If pruning is required, best time is after flowering in spring.