Today’s Special (2-28-14): Pink Summersweet Plants – $5.72 Each
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. Promptly remove root suckers unless naturalized look is desired. Propagate by cuttings. Prune if needed in late winter. Clethra alnifolia, commonly called summersweet, is a deciduous shrub that is native to swampy woodlands, wet marshes, stream banks and seashores, often in sandy soils, primarily along the coast from Maine to Florida. It is a suckering, densely-branched, rounded, deciduous shrub that typically grows to 3-6′ (less frequently to 8′) tall and is noted for producing a late summer bloom of sweetly fragrant white flowers. ‘Rosea’ produces sweetly fragrant pink flowers that age to white. Flowers bloom in narrow, cylindrical, bottlebrush-like, terminal panicles (racemes to 4- 6″ long) on the current year’s growth for approximately 4-6 weeks in July and August. Flowers give way to dark brown seed capsules that may persist well into winter. Flowers are very attractive to butterflies and bees. Serrate, obovate, glossy dark green leaves (to 4″ long) turn variable but generally attractive shades of yellow to golden brown in fall. Summersweets are somewhat unique among flowering shrubs because of their ability to bloom in shady locations in late summer when few other shrubs are in bloom. Zones 4 to 8.