Plant Encyclopedia

Double Play® Candy Corn® Spirea

Spiraea japonica

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Double Play® Candy Corn® Spirea

Discover More Information On Double Play® Candy Corn® Spirea

The Double Play® Candy Corn® Spirea, a variety of Spiraea japonica, is a vibrant addition to any garden. This unique shrub is a showstopper with its dynamic color changes throughout the growing season. In the early spring, the plant bursts into life with new growth that is a bright candy apple red. As the season progresses, the foliage transforms into a pineapple yellow, with new growth continuing to emerge in a striking bright orange. This colorful display is further enhanced by dark purple flowers that bloom in late spring and early summer.

Standing at a mature height and spread of approximately 18 inches to 2 feet 6 inches, this compact shrub is ideal for small gardens or as a striking border plant. It is also well-suited for use as a filler in container gardening due to its mounded habit. The Double Play® Candy Corn® Spirea is not only visually appealing but also low-maintenance, making it a favorite among gardeners. It thrives best in full sun to partial sun, requiring at least 4 to 6 hours of sunlight daily.

Plant Attributes

The Double Play® Candy Corn® Spirea, is an ornamental shrub renowned for its unique and dynamic foliage colors. This deciduous shrub falls under the short height category, growing to a garden height of 18 to 24 inches. It requires a spacing of 18 to 30 inches, with a spread that mirrors its height, offering a balanced and compact appearance. The foliage of this plant is a kaleidoscope of colors, featuring vibrant shades of orange, red, and yellow, with the yellow often resembling the hue of pineapple. The foliage shade evolves throughout the season, making this plant a continuously changing display in any garden.

The most striking feature of this spirea is its flower color - a rich purple that contrasts beautifully with its colorful leaves. The flowers bloom on new wood and make their appearance in early summer and late spring, adding to the plant's visual appeal. Its mounded habit makes it an excellent choice for filling spaces in both garden beds and containers.

Landscape Use

The Double Play® Candy Corn® Spirea, with its vibrant and dynamic foliage, is an excellent choice for various landscaping uses. Its unique characteristics and moderate size make it versatile for different garden styles and applications. Here are some of the key landscaping uses for this plant:

  1. Border Planting: Its compact size and colorful foliage make it perfect for border planting. It can line walkways or garden edges, providing a bright, defined edge to garden beds or paths.
  2. Edging Plant: The Double Play® Candy Corn® Spirea is ideal for edging in garden designs, where its striking foliage color can highlight and contrast with other garden elements.
  3. Landscape Accent: This spirea can serve as a focal point in the landscape, drawing attention with its colorful leaves and purple flowers. It's especially effective in drawing the eye when placed against a backdrop of green foliage or in a rock garden.
  4. Mass Planting: Planting these shrubs en masse creates a dramatic and cohesive display of color. This is particularly effective in larger spaces where a bold visual impact is desired.
  5. Specimen or Focal Point: Due to its striking appearance, the plant works well as a specimen plant in a garden or yard, especially in a spot where its changing colors can be appreciated throughout the season.
  6. Container Gardening: Its mounded habit and moderate growth make it suitable for container gardening, where it can be a standalone feature or part of a mixed container.
  7. Mixed Beds and Borders: The shrub blends well with perennials and other shrubs in mixed beds and borders, offering a burst of color and texture variation.
  8. Wildlife Gardens: While it resists deer, its flowers can attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, making it a valuable addition to wildlife gardens.
  9. Cottage Gardens: The playful colors and easy-going nature of this spirea fit well in the relaxed style of cottage gardens.
  10. Modern Landscape Designs: The vivid colors and structured growth habit can complement modern landscape designs, adding a touch of lively color to minimalistic or contemporary garden styles.

Planting & Care

Planting Instructions:

  1. Location: Choose a site with full sun to partial sun exposure, ensuring the plant receives at least 4-6 hours of sunlight daily.
  2. Soil: This spirea thrives in well-drained soil. If your soil is heavy or clay-like, consider amending it with organic matter to improve drainage.
  3. Spacing: Plant the spireas about 18 to 30 inches apart. This spacing allows enough room for each plant to grow to its full size without overcrowding.
  4. Planting Depth: Dig a hole as deep as the root ball and twice as wide. Place the plant in the hole, ensuring the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Backfill the hole, gently firming the soil around the plant.
  5. Watering After Planting: Water the plant thoroughly after planting to settle the soil around the roots and eliminate any air pockets.

Ongoing Care:

  1. Watering: Water the plant regularly during the first growing season to establish a deep, extensive root system. Once established, it requires average water and can tolerate some drought. In extreme heat or if planted in containers, more frequent watering may be necessary.
  2. Mulching: Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the plant to help retain soil moisture and regulate soil temperature.
  3. Fertilizing: Feed the plant in early spring with a slow-release fertilizer formulated for shrubs. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for application rates.
  4. Pruning: Spirea is naturally low maintenance when it comes to pruning. If desired, you can prune it after flowering to encourage more colorful new growth. Pruning also helps maintain its shape and promotes the health of the plant.
  5. Pest and Disease Management: This spirea is generally resistant to pests and diseases. However, keep an eye out for common issues and treat them promptly if they arise.
  6. Winter Care: In colder zones, you may add a layer of mulch for winter protection. However, this plant is hardy in zones 4-8, making it resilient to winter conditions in these areas.
  7. Deer Resistance: One of the advantages of this plant is its resistance to deer, which can be a significant benefit in areas where deer are a common problem.

Additional Information

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Double Play® Candy Corn® Spirea


Plant Features

  • Plant Type: Shrub
  • Watering Needs: Average water requirements; more frequent watering may be needed in extreme heat or for plants in containers.
  • Botanical Pronunciation: spy-REE-uh juh-PON-ih-kuh
  • Deciduous/evergreen: Deciduous
  • Growth rate: Moderate
  • Average landscape size: Mature height of 18-24 inches with a spread of 18-30 inches
  • Special features: Border Plant, Edging Plant, Landscape, Mass Planting, Specimen or Focal Point, Foliage Interest, Deer Resistant
  • Dramatic Foliage: Colorful foliage changing from candy apple red, to pineapple yellow, to bright orange throughout the season
  • Foliage color: Orange, Red, Yellow
  • Blooms: Late Spring to Early Summer
  • Flower color: Purple
  • Flower attributes: Showy Flowers
  • Garden style: Cottage, Eclectic, Modern
  • Design Ideas: Ideal for creating a vibrant border or as a stand-out specimen in gardens. Works well in container gardens due to its mounded habit. Its changing foliage colors throughout the season make it a dynamic addition to mixed beds and landscapes.
  • Companion Plants: Complements plants with contrasting foliage colors and textures. Works well with both flowering plants and other foliage-focused shrubs.

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