PlantsItea→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
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 9b
Plant Height: 3 feet to 8 feet
Plant Spread: 3 feet to 5 feet
Leaves: Good fall color
Other: Green turning red shades in fall.
Fruit: Edible to birds
Other: 1/4 inch long two celled capsules that persist through winter.
Fruiting Time: Late summer or early fall
Late fall or early winter
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: White
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Late spring or early summer
Inflorescence Height: 2 to 6 inches
Suitable Locations: Bog gardening
Uses: Windbreak or Hedge
Erosion control
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Flood Resistant
Humidity tolerant
Salt tolerant
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Pollinators: Various insects
Containers: Suitable in 3 gallon or larger
Needs excellent drainage in pots
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil


Photo gallery:

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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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
what is this plant, is it wild? by Fishgirlchesbay Sep 18, 2020 9:15 AM 10
Shrub by Willyp Apr 26, 2020 9:01 AM 1
Plant ID please by gross4160 Jun 29, 2019 5:11 AM 6
id by gross4160 May 26, 2019 8:11 AM 2
bushes for the front of the house by random_bunny75 Aug 20, 2018 8:49 PM 30
Help please * by flaflwrgrl Mar 2, 2018 12:34 PM 6
Shrubs for shade by Freedombelle Sep 7, 2017 1:27 PM 23
Chicagoland Annual garden swap 2017 by oerickson Aug 25, 2017 10:41 AM 303
What is this? by JimandLauraplus4 Apr 2, 2017 6:19 PM 5
What did you do in the Iris garden today? by Paul2032 May 6, 2021 8:38 PM 20,122

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