Summersweet

Scientific Name: Clethra alnifolia

Light:  Part to full shade

Zone: 3 to 9

Height:  6 to 12 feet

Width:  4 to 6 feet

Flowers:  July to August, white/pink; showy & fragrant

Fruit/Seed: showy, September to February, brown capsule

Fall Color:  yellow

Butterflies: nectar

Birds:   Birds eat the fruit and aid in seed dispersal.

Hummingbird:  nectar

Deer Resistant:  Seldom severely damaged

Insects/Pollinators:  Yes

Native: Only to the coastal area of Maryland

Idea Garden:

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Description

Summersweets are somewhat unique among flowering shrubs because they bloom for up to 6 weeks in shady locations in late summer when few other shrubs are in bloom.  Their fragrant white flowers and nectar attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Deer eat it only when other forage vegetation is limited. Birds eat the fruit and aid in seed dispersal.

Summersweet can be used in a mixed shrub hedge and pruned to maintain a small size. The lush green leaves turn to golden yellow in autumn.Compact size makes this an ideal flowering shrub for smaller gardens.

Resources:

Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping: Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Summersweet – USDA Plant Guide

Summersweet – Missouri Botanical Garden

Landscape Plants Rated by Deer Resistance – Rutgers

Recommended for Wildlife by

Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping: Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Bringing Nature Home by Tallamy

Essential Native Trees and Shrubs for the Eastern United States by Dove & Woolridge

Additional information

Zones

Zone 5, Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8

Light

Part Sun, Shade

Soil

Clay, Loam, Moist, Wet

Flower Color

Pink, White

Flower Season

Summer

Fruit Season

Fall, Winter

Native

Coast

Wildlife Value

Beneficial Insects, Deer Resistant, Food for Birds, Hummingbird, Nectar

Notable Features

Erosion Control, Fragrant, Hedge, Salt Tolerant, Winter Interest

Local Availability

Widely Available

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