What Eats Spirea? (5 Creatures That Eat Spirea)

Is something chewing away on your spirea shrub? There are a few possible culprits, including insect and animal pests.

So, what eats spirea? Deer, rabbits, chickens, and voles, will eat spirea if they get hungry enough (and if there is no alternative). Spirea aphids also eat spirea, causing curled leaves and stunted growth. Spider mites also sometimes eat spirea.

Many spirea varieties can withstand severe cold, so they might become a food source for hungry animals when winter arrives.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the creatures that might decide to eat spirea. We’ll also mention some spirea varieties that are more resistant to these pests.

Let’s get started.

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What Eats Spirea? (5 Creatures That Eat Spirea)

There are lots of creatures that might eat spirea, including:

  • Deer
  • Rabbits
  • Chickens
  • Voles
  • Spirea aphids
Rabbits might decide to eat spirea if there is not other food source available.

Each pest might have certain spirea species it likes more than others. It depends a lot on the animal/insect and on the spirea variety!

For example: Rutgers has a classification of plants that are resistant or susceptible to deer. Their rating system uses a scale of A through D.

A grade of “A” means a plant is rarely damaged by deer, while a grade of “D” means a plant stands to suffer frequent severe damage from deer.

Spiraea japonica spirea
Spirea is seldom damaged severely by deer – but they might decide to eat it if they get hungry enough!

Several spirea varieties got a grade of “B” meaning it will seldom suffer severe damage from deer. The varieties that were rated include Anthony Waterer spirea (Spiraea x bumalda), Bridalwreath spirea (Spiraea prunifolia), and Japanese spirea (Spiraea japonica).

Do Deer Eat Spirea?

Deer will sometimes eat spirea, but they will most likely choose other plants if given the choice. In winter, with fewer green leaves to eat, deer might eat spirea out of desperation.

Deer are more likely to eat spire in winter, when there is less food available.

Spireas are generally deer resistant. Some deer resistant spirea varieties include:

  • Spiraea alba (Meadowsweet)
  • Spiraea cantoniensis (Cape May)
  • Spiraea fritschiana (Korean spirea)
  • Spiraea japonica (Japanese spirea)
  • Spiraea nipponica (Snowmound spirea)
  • Spiraea prunifolia (Bridal Wreath spirea)
  • Spiraea thunbergii
  • Spiraea tomentosa (Hardbark spirea)
  • Spiraea trilobata (Threelobe spirea)
  • Spiraea x vanhouttei

One of the best ways to prevent deer damage to any plant is to build a proper fence. You can also try planting some flowers that deer avoid, such as daffodils or poppies.

deer jumping fence
A fence might help to deter deer, but they can jump pretty high!

Usually, deer will chew on leaves and branches higher up on spirea. If you see damage lower on the shrub, rabbits might be to blame.

(You can find lots of deer resistant plants for hedges here).

Do Rabbits Eat Spirea?

Rabbits will eat spirea on occasion, sometimes causing major damage. Just like deer, rabbits will usually eat something else if it is available.

spirea white 3
Rabbits may eat spire if they are hungry – the damage is likely to be on the lowest parts of the shrub.

The variety Spiraea thunbergii “Ogon” is resistant to rabbits. This may be due to the taste or texture, or perhaps the fragrance of its flowers.

Generally, rabbits prefer food other than spirea. However, it is still possible for them to chew on spirea bushes on occasion.

As with deer, the best way to prevent rabbit damage to plants is to set up a fence. However, you can also set up chicken wire around an individual spirea shrub to prevent damage.

chicken wire
Put up chicken wire around spirea to prevent rabbit damage.

Remember that rabbits are willing to try lots of different plants if they are really hungry (especially in winter). You can learn more about how to keep rabbits out of the garden here.

Also, keep in mind that rabbits may nest in or near spirea due to the shelter and cover it provides – even if they choose not to eat it!

Do Chickens Eat Spirea?

Chickens will sometimes eat spirea if given the chance (and when they can’t find anything better to eat). In fact, Washington State University suggests including spirea as part of a chicken friendly garden.

Chickens might eat spire sometimes, but they are more likely to use it as shelter from birds of prey.

There are two main reasons: shade and cover. Chickens can take shelter from the sun on hot days under a spirea bush, and they can also keep out of view of birds of prey.

Chickens and other livestock might try to eat some types of spirea (like rose spirea) once in a while. This is more likely if they are hungry and there are no other good food sources.

Do Voles Eat Spirea?

Voles will eat some types of spirea, such as Snowmound spirea (Spiraea nipponica) and Vanhoutte spirea (Spirea x vanhouttei).

Voles can cause severe damage to spirea and other plants they decide to eat.

Voles can cause severe damage or death to spirea and other shrubs. The damage often appears in winter, when few other food sources are available except woody shrubs.

To control vole populations, clear away any dense growth (especially grasses and ground cover) where they like to dig. This reduces their cover from predators, meaning they will seek out a safe haven elsewhere.

Do Japanese Beetles Eat Spirea?

Japanese beetles won’t usually eat spirea, so they don’t cause much damage to this shrub. There are a number of other shrubs they won’t really bother, including Forsythia, juniper, lilacs, privet, snowberry, witch hazel, and yew.

japanese beetle
Japanese beetles don’t usually eat spirea.

What Else Eats Spirea?

Spirea aphids are another insect pest that can cause damage to your spirea (they also affect crabapples, apples, and pears). They are light green with a pear-shaped body.

Spirea aphids cause curled leaves and stunted growth of spirea. Another sign of spirea aphids is the sticky honeydew (their waste) they leave behind on the plant.

Aphids cause trouble in the garden – spirea aphids can cause wilted leaves and stunted growth of spirea shrubs.

You can spray spirea aphids off of your plant a couple of times per week to deter them. They also have several natural predators, including ladybugs.

Another possibility is spider mites (tiny yellow insects) on your spirea bushes. They cause leaves to either be discolored (gray or bronze) or drop early.

You can also remove them by spraying with water from a hose. Insecticides often kill natural predators of spider mites, so think twice before using chemicals to control them.


Now you know what types of creatures eat spirea – hopefully, this gives you an idea of what might be chewing away at your shrubs.

I hope you found this article helpful.  If so, please share it with someone who can use the information.

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Jon M

Hi, I'm Jon. Let's solve your gardening problems, spend more time growing, and get the best harvest every year!

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