Summersweet Clethra has induced me end my blogging hiatus. Passing by a massing of this shrub yesterday, I was caught off guard by the fabulous scent. Dr. Dirr describes it as “delightfully fragrant.” It’s not a scent that is overpowering, but rather one of which you can’t seem to get enough.
Summersweet Clethra (Clethra alnifolia) is a large summer-blooming shrub that grows 3-8’ high and 4-6’ wide. The fragrant blooms are not terribly showy but will last 4 weeks or more. This plant is “tremendously pest free” and will do well in sun or shade and wet soils. Fall color is also a “worthwhile attribute.”
The pictured shrub is the ‘Ruby Spice’ variety which is a lovely soft pink. Bees, butterflies, and a variety of insects love this native plant. If you have an informal shrub border with some space, use this plant. And in other garden news, the American Plums are ripening!