May Bush

Spirea cantonensis

May Bush

May bush is one of the most spectacular white flowering shrubs you can have in the garden, but it is even more so when used as a hedge. The name can be confusing as it flowers profusely in September and October in the southern hemisphere but flowers in May in the northern hemisphere.

Plant details

Common name: May bush

Botanic name: Spiraea cantoniensis ‘Lanceata’. The genus name Spiraea comes form the Greek word for wreath, referring to the flowering branches used for garlands. The species name cantoniensis refers to its origin in South Eastern China.

Climate: It will grow in most parts of Australia including the colder inland areas but not in the tropics.

Description: The May bush is a deciduous or semi-deciduous (in warmer climates) shrub growing to about 2.5m (8′) high producing masses of arching stems into a rounded shrub. It flowers spectacularly with double white flowers for several weeks in spring but the foliage is green for most of the year.

Best look: Striking when grown as a hedge or screening plant along a fence or boundary producing a mass of white flowers in spring.

Uses: specimen plants
mixed shrub borders
dense privacy hedge

Likes: full sun
plenty of space to grow
will tolerate mild frosts
good drainage
water well in summer
relatively free of pests and diseases

Pruning: May bush is a reasonably low maintenance hardy shrub but to keep it from looking scruffy prune straight after flowering so that plenty of growth will occur for flowers to develop the following year.

Availability: May bush is available from good nurseries throughout Australia and cost about $14 for a 20cm (8″) pot.