Yaharalady
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Location: South central Wisconsin

Summer sweet shrub - Considerations for planting?

I am contemplating planting a ruby spice summer sweet. The description regarding the fragrance is intriguing. Has anyone out there had experience. Would you plant it again.? Are there pesky bugs, diseases? Do the rhizomes spread and cause problems? I have several light options.
Thanks for your help.

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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

I love summer sweet/Clethra. I don't have the "ruby spice" but there was a whole hedge of them at an arboretum and the fragrance was heavenly.

I currently have a species and a "hummingbird" which is a dwarf variety, both white flowered. I'll probably get the "ruby spice" next time I have the chance.

No pests so far, but the flowers are a fantastic bee and wasp magnet -- I see most unusual species and I love it. Butterflies too, but its probably a good idea to plant it a little away from regular activity areas like patios and decks since some people are not very tolerant of bees and wasps.

They like a lot of moisture so both of mine are planted near the base of a down spout -- one in N corner of the house and the other in E corner. I have not seen any runners... Or may be just a beginning of one after two or three years. They seem to be slow growing.

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hendi_alex
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Location: Central Sand Hills South Carolina

The plant has a pleasant and interesting fragrance. Our plant is an old fashioned variety with rust red flowers. I would likely plant one again but only for its. Fragrance. I'm not overly impressed with the appearance of the shrub which is small, gangly and not very special. It is certainly not a lovely three season plant like 'Henry Garnet' Itea which has lovely cascading white flowers in the spring, nice textured foliage in the summer, dep crimson in the fall, and interesting red branching in the winter. To me only flaw with Itea is its tendency to grow suckers from the roots near the plant and from low growing branches. These are very shallow and easy to pull however, and only need too be pulled once or twice per year.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

Yaharalady
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Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:25 am
Location: South central Wisconsin

Clethra replies

Thanks for the tips. The info you all gave me is what I was looking for. The catalogue says it is drought tolerant. Is this true if it needs to be in a moist area? The area I wanted to plant it in is not moist unless I water.

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hendi_alex
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Location: Central Sand Hills South Carolina

Mine is planted in dry sandy soil that suffers from fierce invasion of oak tree roots. The plant does very well with just an occasional watering. I dug the plant up and moved it a couple of years ago. Every piece of root seemed to send up a new plant, and the old location now has two sweet shrubs growing instead of the one shrub that was previously there.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

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