Sorbaria sorbifolia 'Sem'

Landscape area
Common Name: false spiraea 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Rosaceae
Zone: 2 to 8
Height: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 5.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Erosion


Best grown in average, medium moisture, organically rich, well-drained soils in full sun. Remove root suckers promptly to avoid unwanted spread. Prune in late winter to early spring (plants may be cut close to the ground to rejuvenate).

'Sem' can tolerate some light shade but plant in full sun for best foliage color.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Sorbaria sorbifolia, called Ural false spirea, is a coarse, suckering, deciduous shrub which typically grows 5-8' tall (less frequently to 10') and as wide. Features tiny white flowers in dense, terminal, pyramidal panicles (to 10" long) in early summer. Compound, odd-pinnate, deep green foliage resembles that of mountain ash (Sorbus) to which it is related.

Genus name is derived from the genus name of a related rose family member called Sorbus (mountain ash) in probable reference to the similarity of the leaves.

Specific epithet means with leaves like the genus Sorbus.

'Sem' features colorful foliage and a less aggressive suckering habit compared to the species. Mature plants will reach up to 4' tall and spread to fill a 6' area or more. The 6.75" long, pinnately compound leaves emerge in spring with pinkish-bronze tones before turning chartreuse and finally maturing to dark green by mid-summer. Terminal, cone-shaped panicles of small, white blooms appear in summer. This plant is protected by patent number PP16336.


No serious insect or disease problems. Can spread aggressively by root suckers, particularly in loose soils (less invasive in heavy clay soils).


Best in areas where it can be allowed to spread. Mass for erosion control on banks and slopes. Screens. Shrub borders.