Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Virginia Sweetspire
Give a thumbs up Tassel-white
Give a thumbs up Virginia Willow
Give a thumbs up Gooseberry

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Partial or Dappled Shade
Partial Shade to Full Shade
Water Preferences: Wet
Wet Mesic
Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Strongly acid (5.1 – 5.5)
Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 5a -28.9 °C (-20 °F) to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 10b
Plant Height: 3 feet to 5 feet
Plant Spread: 3 feet to feet
Leaves: Good fall color
Deciduous
Fruit: Edible to birds
Fruiting Time: Late summer or early fall
Fall
Late fall or early winter
Winter
Flowers: Showy
Fragrant
Flower Color: White
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Summer
Inflorescence Height: 2 to 6 inches
Suitable Locations: Bog gardening
Uses: Windbreak or Hedge
Erosion control
Wildlife Attractant: Birds
Butterflies
Resistances: Flood Resistant
Humidity tolerant
Salt tolerant
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Division
Pollinators: Various insects
Containers: Suitable in 3 gallon or larger
Needs excellent drainage in pots
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
Monoecious

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Comments:
Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Dec 21, 2017 8:43 PM

About 2005 I went to a native plant nursery in southeast Pennsylvania and bought a potted straight species of the Virginia Sweetspire, not a cultivar. I earlier had bought a 'Henry's Garnet' Sweetspire at the conventional nursery where I had worked and had it planted farther back in the backyard not far away. The most popular cultivar bears longer flower spikes, has longer, narrower leaves, and develops a brighter red fall color a little later. I still love the mother species. The species is native from New Jersey and a spot in southcentral Pennsylvania down to southern Florida to east Texas & southeast Oklahoma up into southern Illinois, growing in bogs, swamps, dunes, barrens, and along creeks and streams; and can be found growing in shallow water. It is a clean, neat shrub with smooth green to reddish-purple twigs and many slender erect or upright stems with red-brown to gray bark. The 2 to 6 inch long white spikes are very fragrant in late June and July. It has small dry brown capsule fruits in late summer through winter that can be eaten by birds and small mammals. It has a shallow, lateral root system and is easy to transplant. A few cultivars are sold at many garden centers and nurseries in the mid-Atlantic and the South; some in the Midwest.

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