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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

Spiraea ‘Tor Gold’: New yellow-leaved shrub

Posted by Graham Rice on 17 Dec 2012 at 02:37 PM

Spiraea betulifolia is not a shrub that most gardeners will know. It has just three stockists in the RHS PlantFinder and I only recollect ever seeing it once or twice. It’s a small shrub with neat rounded, toothed leaves and clusters of white flowers in early summer.

Then the variety ‘Tor’ appeared, a neatly mounded form with lovely autumn foliage in red, gold, yellow, bronze and purple. Now we have ‘Tor Gold’.

This neat deciduous shrub reaches about 2ft/60cm high and as much across, and the foliage opens in bright yellow in spring. As the foliage continues to retain its eye-catching colouring, the clusters of white flowers open in June. As the flowers fade the foliage changes to a yellowish green through the summer then in autumn undergoes quite a transformation. In yellow, purple, pink and greenish tones it makes a lovely specimen for its autumn colour.

‘Tor Gold’ was found in The Netherlands in 2008 as a sport on a plant of ‘Tor’ which, because it will take very low temperatures, is grown widely in gardens and as a landscape plant in Scandinavia and in Eastern Europe. ‘Tor Gold’ is equally tough.

Happy in full sun and any reasonable soil, its yellow foliage, white flowers and very colourful autumn foliage – combined with its neat growth – make this a fine plant for small gardens and for containers.

You can order plants of Spiraea betulifolia ‘Tor Gold’ from The Plantsman’s Preference.

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