Clethra alnifolia, Sweet Pepper Bush, Summersweet
Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic
Summer sweet and spicy is the pleasant fragrance of this pollinator magnate. This tall shrub, common in the Coastal Plain of the Mid-Atlantic Region, naturalizes readily in shady, damp places as well as coastal landscapes. Though not native to NoVA, it grows well in cultivation here.
Print Version: Clethra alnifolia, Sweet Pepper Bush, Summersweet
Learn more about other Mid-Atlantic plants: Tried and True Plant Fact Sheets
Tags: Buddleia davidii and hybrids – Butterfly Bush, Lythrum salicaria – Purple Loosestrife, Rosa species – Roses, Spirea japonica – Japanese Spirea, Viburnum lantana – Wayfaring Tree, Vitex agnus-castus – Chaste Tree, Upright to rounded, twiggy deciduous shrub, Quilted, medium green to dark green foliage, Intensely scented, creamy white flowers (resemble Buddleia) bloom July and August on new growth, Green to brown elongated spikes of dry capsules from September to January, Yellow autumn foliage, Brown to taupe bark, exfoliating with age, Often suckers to form broad colonies, Tolerates clay soil, dense shade (where it will flower), and salt (moderate); no serious pests or diseases; deer seldom severely damage, Excellent for attracting native bees, hummingbirds, & butterflies; birds & small mammals eat the fruit, Soil Requirements: Average, Light Requirements: Sun, Partial Shade, Shade, Water Requirements: Moist, Wet, Grows in full sun, but prefers dappled shade, Use in borders, near foundations, in butterfly, hummer, or rain gardens, or to control erosion, Hardiness: USDA Zones 3-9, hummingbirds