General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Partial or Dappled Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 4b -31.7 °C (-25 °F) to -28.9 °C (-20 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 9b
Plant Height: 3-9 feet
Plant Spread: 6-12 feet
Leaves: Good fall color
Other: leaves turn yellow in fall
Fruit: Other: a brown, fig-shaped leathery capsule
Fruiting Time: Late summer or early fall
Late fall or early winter
Flowers: Showy
Blooms on old wood
Blooms on new wood
Other: Try to purchase sweetshrub when in bloom to find one with fragrance. There is variation in the amount and nature of the perfume. The flowers also seem to become more fragrant as they age.
Flower Color: Other: Maroon
Bloom Size: 1"-2"
Flower Time: Spring
Late spring or early summer
Late summer or early fall
Suitable Locations: Espalier
Uses: Windbreak or Hedge
Cut Flower
Dried Flower
Will Naturalize
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Toxicity: Other: Ruminants are reported to have a toxic reaction from grazing this plant. Calycanthus contains calycanthine, an alkaloid similar to strychnine, and it is toxic to humans and livestock if consumed in large quantities.
Propagation: Seeds: Sow in situ
Other info: Seed needs to be fresh. Plant right away or stratify for 60 days before planting.
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Stolons and runners
Pollinators: Various insects
Containers: Suitable in 3 gallon or larger
Needs repotting every 2 to 3 years
Needs excellent drainage in pots
Miscellaneous: Monoecious

Common names
  • Carolina Allspice
  • Eastern Sweetshrub
  • Sweet Bubby
  • Strawberry Shrub
  • Bubby Bush

This plant is tagged in:

  • Posted by flaflwrgrl (North Fl. - Zone 8b) on Jul 14, 2014 8:31 PM concerning plant:
    Native to Al, Ct, DC, De, Fl, Ga, Il, Ky, La, Ma, Md, Mo, Ms, NC, NY, Oh, Pa, SC, Tn, Va, WV.

    Leaves are opposite, simple, have smooth margins, oblong, glossy, aromatic & leathery, 4 - 6" long & 2-3" wide. Blooms are axillary with straplike petals.Very resistant to disease & insect problems.
    It is recommended that you purchase or obtain your plant while it is in bloom as strength of fragrance varies greatly from individual to individual.
    The plant suckers prolifically. It has a moderate growth habit. It adapts to many types of soil, but it naturally grows as an understory plant along streams & moist woodlands, where it is inclined to a more open shape. It does grow well in full sun, where it blooms more prolifically & has a more rounded habit although shaping is required to maintain such, and in full sun it has a slower growth rate.
    The leaves, seed pods, stems & bark are spicily aromatic, reminiscent of cinnamon.
    It prefers moist soil, but it will survive periods of drought.
    Often planted near doorways or outdoor spaces in order to take advantage of the wonderful fragrance.
    An easy to grow plant & much underused. Pollinated by insects.
  • Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Dec 30, 2017 8:08 PM concerning plant:
    The native range of this Common Sweetshrub is from spots in southern Pennsylvania down into central and western North & South Carolina into north Georgia to northwest Florida, most of Alabama, spots in Mississippi, and eastern Tennessee in lowland wet mesic to upland mesic to upland mesic dry in and around woods on hillsides and on banks of fast moving streams and creeks. The leaves are glossy and leathery and aromatic when crushed and turn a good yellow in autumn. The flowers are red-brown with over-lapping strap-like petals and are borne mostly in late April and May, but some sporadically through July. The wonderful ripe banana-strawberry scent varies from plant to plant; some stronger and others weaker, and I think the younger blooms carry more scent. It bears a brown fig-shaped dry capsule about 2 inches long in fall into winter. It grows at medium rate of about 1.5 feet/year when young. Its root system is shallow and fibrous and many ground suckers will come up some feet away from the base. Easy to transplant. Common Sweetshrub is offered by many larger conventional nurseries and native plant nurseries, and I find it occasionally in some landscapes in upscale neighborhoods, besides use by landscape designers.
Plant Events from our members
aspenhill On April 18, 2015 Obtained plant
LWC Plant Sale (Nature by Design) - qty 1
MrsBinWY On September 1, 2017 Potted up
5, put container w/ rest of seeds back out for another season
MrsBinWY On August 11, 2017 Seeds germinated
MrsBinWY On March 10, 2017 Seeds sown
filed, soaked overnight w/tiny bit of H2O2, baggie in fridge for 3-4 months, 17 (all) seeds from molanic; unfridged 7-30-17
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