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Clethra alnifolia 'Hummingbird' (Sweet pepperbush)

Clethra alnifolia 'Hummingbird' Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of White Flower Farm


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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Botanical Name: Clethra alnifolia 'Hummingbird' KLETH-rah all-nih-FOE-lee-ah Common Name: Sweet pepperbush Genus: Clethra
This upright, suckering shrub bears creamy white, deliciously spicy clove-scented flowers in dense, upright spikes that last four to six weeks in July and August. It is more compact than the species. Flowers mature to spikes of dark brown capsules that provide winter interest. Its oval, glossy dark green leaves turn a pleasant yellow in autumn.
Noteworthy characteristics: A favorite of bees, this compact, rounded shrub is ideal for small gardens, growing 3 feet tall and wide at maturity. The species is native to the eastern U.S.
Care: Thrives in consistently moist but well-drained soil in full sun to partial or dappled shade but is highly adaptable to other conditions. More floriferous than the species, it provides good bloom in shady locations. In winter, remove some of the oldest wood from the base; the stronger new growth will replace it in spring. Blooms on current year growth.
Propagation: Sow seed at 43° to 54°F in spring or autumn. Root greenwood cuttings in early summer.
Problems: Fungal dieback and root rot can occur.
Height 1 ft. to 3 ft.
Spread 1 ft. to 3 ft.
Growth Habit Spreads
Light Full Sun to Part Shade
Moisture Medium Moisture
Maintenance Moderate
Characteristics Attracts Butterflies; Fragrant Flowers; Native; Showy Flowers
Bloom Time Early Fall; Fall; Late Summer; Summer
Flower Color White Flower
Uses Beds and Borders
Style Woodland Garden
Seasonal Interest Winter Interest, Summer Interest, Fall Interest
Type Shrubs

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