Louis Raymond experiments in his own gardens like

a mad scientist, searching out plants that most people have

never seen before & figuring out how to make them perform.- The Boston Globe

…Louis Raymond ensures that trees can grow in Brooklyn…

or just about any other place where concrete consumes

the dirt and skyscrapers shield the sunshine.- USA Today


NEW Trips to Take!

Myrtle's easy when the conditions are right.


NEW Plants to Try!

Louis tries to capture the exact words to describe the fleeting but deep pleasures to be found in these Summer-into-Autumn incredibles.


New Gardening to Do!

Allergic to bees? You can still have an exciting garden, full of flowers and color and wildlife.


Plant Profiles

The other Gold-leaved Spirea



Gold-leaved spireas?  Ugh: Their pink flowers clash so severely with their gold foliage that aesthetic indigestion is inevitable.  Thankfully, the flowers are the cue for your cure: They're not just pink, they're Pepto Bismol pink.


But the cure for your garden?  This spirea: Gold-leaved, but not pink-flowered.  Gold leaves, white flowers:  'White Gold'.


It's the Brioschi of Bushes, and makes the indigestion of pink-flowered gold-leaved spireas a thing of the past.  'White Gold': the bush that's—what is the slogan?—"The burp of relief."   


Even better, the foliage of 'White Gold' is on-message from the get-go, dedicated to the mission, to selling the brand:  It comes out gold and it stays gold.


By contrast, the gold foliage of Pepto-pink spireas starts out (brace yourself) orange, and only then turns gold.  This is too complex already, this orange-then-yellow transition.  And when there's new foliage (orange), old foliage (yellow), and the flowers (pink) all at once?  It's time for Pepto with a Brioschi chaser.


Instead, toss out the meds along with your pink-flowered gold-leaved spireas.  'White Gold' is just that, white and gold.  The gold is the foliage, simplicity and harmony made into chlorophyll and structural carbohydrates without compromise, confusion, or shame.  Gold that's proud of being singular—and, if anything, even more stunning in the rain.




Gold with mercy, too:  If, like me, you don't get around to tidying up last year's spirea seed heads until—whoops—this season's growth is already upon you, their dark color turns out to be the sophisticated deep note that the shamelessly energetic foliage truly needs:  The chocolate shards and sprinkles that bring out an even higher brightness in the leaves, an even zestier lemon zest. 


And then in Summer, add in the pleasure of the white of 'White Gold', the flowers.  They've not a hint of pink, or blush of rose, nor a sully of color at all.

Indeed, their whiteness is more than just a pleasure, it's also a relief.  You can finally learn not to cringe when these gold spireas start into in bud.  No Pepto pink will result.  Just white.  Pure, only, and burpless.


You'll see them here.




Here's how to bring this Spring & Summer gold & white spirea to your own garden:


Latin Name

Spiraea japonica 'White Gold'

Common Name

White Gold spirea 

What kind of plant is it?

Small deciduous shrub


Zones 4 to 8


Multi-stemmed and mounding.  So full and dense it could be used  as a (really colorful) groundcover.

Rate of Growth

Fast when happy

Size in ten years

Three feet tall and wide


In Spring and Summer, the bright but small leaves on the numerous stems make a full but airy look.  In Winter the dense twigs and BB-sized dry seeds are modestly appealing, or at least not unappealing.  The dark brown of last year's old stems and seeds is actually a lovely contrast with the glowing acid-yellow foliage of early Spring.

Grown for

Bright-yellow Spring foliage is credibly colorful through the Summer.  New foliage is the same yellow as mature foliage, not the orange typical for the new foliage of other yellow-leaved spireas.  Best of all, the flowers are pure white instead of pink. 

Flowering season

Late Spring


Part shade to full sun as long as the shrub isn't drought-stressed, which in full sun could bring on leaf scorching.

How to handle it

The shrub is successful even with no maintenance.  Even better, though, if last year's seed heads are trimmed off in early Spring.  Dead-heading the flowers would eliminate those seed-head outright, of course, and may also stimulate a smaller second crop of flowers. 


Every couple of years, cut the entire bush down to an inch, literally, before growth begins in Spring.


Can scorch if it doesn't get enough water.  That said, in any reasonable soil and in any reasonable Summer, the foliage is quite durable.  Water in a real drought, and worse comes to worst, cut the whole bush down to the ground, and new stems and foliage will grow quickly. 


The green-leaved species is of interest only for the flowers.  The pink flowers of the other yellow-leaved spireas is usually thought a scary color clash, worthy of the Pepto Bismol that is the flower's hue.


Only at the more adventurous "destination" nurseries, also on-line.



Native habitat

Spiraea japonica?  Japan!




















FacebookTwitterRSS Feed

Stay in touch!


Sign up for twice-monthly eNews, plus notification of new posts:


* indicates required