Virginia Sweetspire

Scientific Name:  Itea virginica

Light:  Full Sun to Full Shade

Zone:  5 to 9

Height:  6 to 10 feet

Width:  3 to 5 feet

Flowers:  June to July, white, one cultivar pink

Fruit/Seed:  August to March, brown capsule

Fall Color:  rich red, stunning, long-lasting shades of deep red, purple, orange, and yellow

Butterflies:  attracts butterflies

Birds:  Birds eat the seeds

Hummingbird:

Deer Resistant:  Yes, seldom severely damaged

Insects/Pollinators:  attracts pollinators

Native:  Only to Worcester and Caroline counties in coastal Maryland

Idea Garden:

Categories: ,

Description

A versatile shrub that tolerates sun or shade and a variety of soil conditions. It can be used as a specimen or grouped in shrub borders, open woodland gardens, foundations or hedges. If planted in mass, it makes a shrubby ground cover. Also a good selection for wet locations.

Slightly fragrant flowers attract butterflies and other insects.  Seeds eaten by songbirds and the plant is deer resistant

Virginia Sweetspire needs little pruning but wayward stems can be removed at any time.  Since the flowers are produced on last year’s growth, trimming is best done after flowering.  The mother plant may produce shoots from the root system that may develop into a colony of slender stems over time. 

Virginia sweetspire is easy to propagate by stem cuttings, taken between May and September, which will root in about four weeks.  Autumn is the best time to start a new plant by root division.  Simply snip one of the suckered roots free of the mother plant.

Cultivars/Varieties

‘Henry’s Garnet’ – Award-winning, 4′-6′ tall & wide, adaptable to colder climates, white flowers  6″ long, fall color rich red-purple which persist until  temperatures below 15 to 20°F.  It grows 4 to 5 feet high and about 4 to 6 feet wide.  

‘Long Spire’ –  8″ flower, poorer fall color than ‘Henry’s Garnet’.

‘Merlot’ – dwarf, 3 to 4 feet tall and wide, wine red fall color persist well into winter, hardy to Zone 5.

‘Sarah Eve’ – pinkish flowers, Fall color is relatively poor, less hardy

‘Sprich’ (Little Henry) – dwarf form of ‘Henry’s Garnet’, 2 to 3 feet tall and wide,  3- to 4-inch flower, fall foliage orange and red.

Sources

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

Virginia Sweetspire – Maryland Extension Home & Garden Information Center

Virginia Sweetspire – USDA Plant Fact Sheet

Virginia Sweetspire – Missouri Botanical Garden

Virginia Sweetspire – University of Connecticut Plant Database

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, Sun

Soil

Clay, Loam, Moist, Wet

Flower Color

White

Flower Season

Summer

Fruit Season

Fall, Summer, Winter

Native

Coast

Wildlife Value

Beneficial Insects, Deer Resistant, Food for Birds, Nectar

Notable Features

Erosion Control, Fragrant, Hedge, Long Blooming, Rain Garden

Local Availability

Available, Widely Available

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