Sweet Pepperbush, Clethra alnifolia

Sweet Pepperbush

Clethra alnifolia

Benefits: Pollinator Benefit Graphic
Sun Shade: Plant Light Requirements Graphic
Bloom Time: Summer
Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Soil Conditions: Acid, Sand
Soil Moisture: Medium, Moist, Wet
Color: White
Fragrance: Yes
Height: 3-8 feet
Spacing: 4-6 feet

Sweet Pepperbush, Clethra alnifolia, also called Summersweet, is a deciduous shrub that is native to swampy woodlands, wet marshes, stream banks and seashores, often in sandy soils, along the coast. It is a rounded, suckering, densely-branched, deciduous shrub that typically grows to 3-6 feet tall and is noted for producing a mid to late summer bloom of sweetly fragrant white flowers which appear in narrow, upright panicles. Flowers give way to dark brown seed capsules (1/8-inch diameter) which may persist into winter. Mature stems have scaly, dark gray to brown black bark. Serrate, obovate to oblong, glossy dark green leaves turn variable but generally attractive shades of yellow to golden brown in fall.

Easily grown in average, medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers part shade and consistently moist, acidic, sandy soils. Soils should not be allowed to dry out. Tolerates clay soils. Tolerates full shade.

 Plant Notes and Herbal Uses
  Good flowering shrub for shade or woodland gardens.
  Effective as a hedge.
  Appropriate for moist soils along stream banks or pond/water garden peripheries.
  Compact size makes this an ideal flowering shrub for smaller gardens.
  Promptly remove root suckers unless naturalized look is desired.
  Propagate by cuttings.
  Prune if needed in late winter.
 Further Information

 Wisconsin Fruit Trees
 Wisconsin Edible Berry Shrubs
 Widsconsin Edible Plants-Eat On The Wild Side
 8 Dandelion Recipes
 Wisconsin Native Plant Nurseries

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