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The Plant Guide

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‘Sixteen Candles’ Sweet pepperbush

Clethra alnifolia 'Sixteen Candles'

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‘Sixteen Candles’ summersweet is a newer cultivar of a popular native shrub. This compact selection reaches 3 to 5 feet tall. In summer, ‘Sixteen Candles’ is topped with aromatic, erect, butterfly-enticing white blooms for 4 to 6 weeks. In fall, the leaves turn an attractive yellow.

Noteworthy CharacteristicsA shorter cultivar selected for its sturdy branching system and large (up to 6 inches), upright, white flowering "candles".

CareLike other summersweets, ‘Sixteen Candles’ loves wet locations in partial shade but does fine in average garden soils in full sun. Supply plants with composted organic matter to encourage roots to spread. Wandering roots and stems can easily be chopped off and transplanted.

PropagationSow seed at 43 to 54°F in spring or autumn. Root greenwood cuttings in early summer.

ProblemsFungal dieback and root rot can occur.

  • Genus : Clethra
  • Zones : 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
  • Plant Height : 3 to 6 feet
  • Plant Width : 3 to 6 feet
  • Characteristics : Attracts Hummingbirds, Fragrant Flowers
  • Tolerance : Deer Tolerant
  • Bloom Time : Fall, Late Summer, Summer
  • Growth Rate : Fast
  • Light : Full Sun to Partial Shade
  • Maintenance : Low
  • Moisture : Medium Moisture
  • Uses : Shade
  • Plant Type : Shrubs
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Summer Interest
  • Flower Color : White

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