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.
- 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
- 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.
- To 46 feet., with extra-large flower clusters late in the season.
- White-flowered, dwarf form to 2-212 feet tall.
Creel's Calico'. To 4 feet.; foliage irregularly variegated in cream.
- Reaches 212312 feet tall and spreads by suckers to form large colonies.
- To 4 feet., with deep pink blooms.
- To 68 feet.; dark rosy pink blooms.
- Wonderful for borders, shade plantings.
- Spreads by suckers to make a broad clump.
- Tolerates coastal conditions.
- Late bloomer; reaches 46 feet.
- Similar to 'Hummingbird', but flower spikes are held upright like candles on a birthday cake.
- Compact, profusely blooming dwarf reaching 23 feet.
- 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.