Rhus aromatica ‘Gro-Low,’ Fragrant Sumac

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

This vigorous, ground-hugging shrub makes an excellent ground cover, suckering and filling in areas quickly. Its glossy foliage turns brilliant reds, oranges, yellows and purples in fall. At first glance, it may look like poison ivy (Rhus radicans), but Fragrant Sumac is not poisonous. It occurs more commonly in the mountains of the Mid-Atlantic Region* than in the Piedmont.

Print Version: Rhus aromatica, ‘Gro-Low’, Fragrant Sumac

MGNVorg Rhus aromatica


Learn more about other Mid-Atlantic plants: Tried and True Plant Fact Sheets

Tags: Dense, low-growing, multistemmed deciduous shrub with long recumbent branches, Usually dioecious: separate male & female plants; plant sex may be unknown for purchased plants, Trifoliate, glossy blue-green leaves late in spring, Yellow catkins (male flowers) and yellow panicles (female flowers) in early to mid-spring, Fuzzy red fruit may persist into winter; male flowers needed nearby for fruit to set Bright, colorful fall foliage late in season, Leaves and twigs are aromatic when bruised, Spreads by tip-layering and suckering, Tolerates clay soil, drought (very well), rabbits; no serious pests or diseases; deer rarely damage, Vigorous growth; does well in disturbed urban soils, Attracts birds, butterflies, and small mammals, Soil Requirements: Acidic (adaptable), well-drained, Berberis thunbergii – Japanese Barberry, Light Requirements: Sun, Partial Shade, Euonymus alatus – Burning Bush, Water Requirements: Dry, Moist Spirea japonica – Japanese Spirea, Use in “hell strips” or en masse on rocky, dry, steep, slopes (for erosion control) or bare, poor soil areas, The species is native to DC and to all NoVa counties but
Arlington. Hardiness: USDA Zones 3-9 It is absent in DE.