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Ruby Spice Summersweet

Clethra alnifolia 'Ruby Spice'

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Ruby Spice Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia 'Ruby Spice') at Ashcombe Farm & Greenhouses

Clethra alnifolia 'Ruby Spice' flowers

Clethra alnifolia 'Ruby Spice' flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  5 feet

Spread:  5 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade 

Hardiness Zone:  3b

Other Names:  Sweet Pepperbush

Description:

One of the most fragrant of all garden shrubs with showy spikes of sweetly scented deep pink flowers bloom in late summer when little else is in flower; a very hardy variety, neat, tidy habit of growth and good fall color; needs moist acidic soil

Ornamental Features

Ruby Spice Summersweet has masses of beautiful spikes of fragrant ruby-red flowers rising above the foliage from mid to late summer, which are most effective when planted in groupings. It has green foliage throughout the season. The glossy round leaves turn an outstanding harvest gold in the fall. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Ruby Spice Summersweet is a multi-stemmed deciduous shrub with a shapely oval form. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.

This shrub will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and is best pruned in late winter once the threat of extreme cold has passed. It is a good choice for attracting bees and butterflies to your yard. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Suckering

Ruby Spice Summersweet is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • General Garden Use
  • Naturalizing And Woodland Gardens

Planting & Growing

Ruby Spice Summersweet will grow to be about 5 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 5 feet. It tends to fill out right to the ground and therefore doesn't necessarily require facer plants in front, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 30 years.

This shrub does best in full sun to partial shade. It is quite adaptable, prefering to grow in average to wet conditions, and will even tolerate some standing water. It is not particular as to soil type, but has a definite preference for acidic soils, and is able to handle environmental salt. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This is a selection of a native North American species.

 
 
Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight Soil pH Preference
Characteristics
Massing  Garden  Naturalizing 
Applications
Flowers  Fall Color  Attracts Wildlife 
Ornamental Features