Easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Adaptive to a wide range of soil, moisture and light conditions. Prefers part shade and consistently moist to wet, acidic soils. Tolerates full shade, however. Spreads slowly by rhizomes.
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, along the coast from Maine to Florida and west to Texas. It is a rounded, suckering, densely-branched, deciduous shrub that typically grows to 3-6′ (less frequently to 8′) tall and is noted for producing a mid to late summer bloom of sweetly fragrant white flowers which appear in narrow, upright panicles (racemes to 2-6″ long). Flowers give way to dark brown seed capsules (1/8″ diameter) which may persist into winter. Mature stems have scaly, dark gray to brown black bark. Serrate, obovate to oblong, glossy dark green leaves (to 3-4″ long) turn variable but generally attractive shades of yellow to golden brown in fall. Flowers are very attractive to butterflies and bees. Zones 3 to 9.