CLETHRA

FAMILY: Clethraceae

TYPE
  • Shrubs
  • Deciduous
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Partial Shade
WATER
  • Regular Water
  • Ample Water

Plant Details

These attractive shrubs are grown for the small, five-lobed, sweet-scented white or pink flowers that cluster at branch tips in mid- to late summer. Tolerate many soils but do best in moist, organic, slightly acid, well-drained soil. Prefer partial shade but can adapt successfully to less light as well as to full sun, though they need some shade where summers are very hot. Remove some old wood from base annually before spring growth begins. Not browsed by deer.

cinnamon clethra

clethra acuminata

  • Zones US, MS; USDA 6-7.
  • Native to mountain areas of Virginia, Georgia, and Alabama.
  • Grows to 812 feet (rarely 20 feet.) tall and wide.
  • Habit is open, even gaunt, so that polished-looking bark in various shades of cinnamon, tan, and reddish brown is displayed beautifully.
  • Fragrant white flowers in 3- to 6 inches spires.
  • Oblong, 3- to 6 inches-long leaves are dark green in summer, then turn golden yellow in autumn.

summersweet, sweet pepperbush

clethra alnifolia

  • Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9.
  • Eastern U.S. native to 410 feet tall and wide, spreading slowly by suckers.
  • Thin, strong branches form a vertical pattern.
  • Tooth-edged, dark green, 3- to 4 inches leaves appear late in spring, turn golden yellow in fall.
  • At bloom time, each branch tip carries several 4- to 6 inches-long spires of tiny, gleaming white flowers with a spicy perfume.

Selections include the following; most grow about as wide as tall.

japanese clethra

Anne Bidwell

  • To 46 feet., with extra-large flower clusters late in the season.

Crystalina

  • White-flowered, dwarf form to 2-212 feet tall.

Creel's Calico'. To 4 feet.; foliage irregularly variegated in cream.

Hummingbird

  • Reaches 212312 feet tall and spreads by suckers to form large colonies.

Pink Spires

  • To 4 feet., with deep pink blooms.

Ruby Spice

  • To 68 feet.; dark rosy pink blooms.
  • Wonderful for borders, shade plantings.
  • Spreads by suckers to make a broad clump.
  • Tolerates coastal conditions.

September Beauty

  • Late bloomer; reaches 46 feet.

Sixteen Candles

  • Similar to 'Hummingbird', but flower spikes are held upright like candles on a birthday cake.

White Dove

  • Compact, profusely blooming dwarf reaching 23 feet.

clethra barbinervis

  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Slow-growing plant reaches 1518 feet tall and about one-half to two-thirds as wide; has attractive, peeling, glossy gray-to-brown bark when mature.
  • Produces drooping, 4- to 6 inches clusters of fragrant, bell-shaped white flowers.
  • Oval, pointed, sharply toothed, dark green leaves turn bright yellow in fall.
  • Variegata has leaves attractively splashed with golden yellow.

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