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Summersweet

Category:

One of the most fragrant of all shrubs for our gardens, and as a bonus, spikes of white flowers bloom in late summer when little else is in flower; neat, tidy habit of growth and good fall color; tends to sucker, needs moist acidic soil

Characteristics

Species:
alnifolia
Other Species Names:
Sweet Pepperbush
Average Landscape Height:
6 feet
Average Landscape Width:
5 feet
Genus:
Clethra
Branching:
multi-stemmed
Plant Form:
oval
Canopy:
closed
Growth Rate:
slow
Pruning:
late winter pruning
Flower Color:
white
Flower Fragrance:
high
Flower Period:
from mid to late summer
Summer Foliage Color:
green
Fall Color:
harvest
Maximum Light:
full sun
Minimum Light:
partial shade
Maximum Moisture:
wet
Minimum Moisture:
average
Pollution Tolerance:
high

Ornamental Features

Summersweet has masses of beautiful spikes of fragrant white flowers rising above the foliage from mid to late summer, which are most effective when planted in groupings. It has green deciduous foliage. The glossy round leaves turn an outstanding harvest gold in the fall.

Landscape Attributes

Summersweet is a multi-stemmed deciduous shrub with a shapely oval form. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.

Planting & Growing

Summersweet will grow to be about 6 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 5 feet. It tends to fill out right to the ground and therefore doesn't necessarily require facer plants in front, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 30 years.

This shrub does best in full sun to partial shade. It is quite adaptable, prefering to grow in average to wet conditions, and will even tolerate some standing water. It is not particular as to soil type, but has a definite preference for acidic soils, and is able to handle environmental salt. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This species is native to parts of North America.

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