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Itea virginica

Common Name(s):
Itea, Virginia sweet spire, Virginia sweetspire, Virginia willow
Cultivar(s):
'Henry's Garnet' , 'Little Henry', 'Sarah Eve', 'Saturnalia'
Categories:
Native Plants, Shrubs
Comment:

Itea virginica, commonly called Virginia sweetspire, is an erect, rounded, broad-spreading, deciduous shrub with arching branches. It typically grows 3-4' (less frequently to 5') tall with a similar spread.  It has mahogany to orange-red fall foliage and arching branchse.  It may spread by runners and can become invasive.  It is a drought tolerant shrub that is native to damp areas of southeastern US so it is perfect for planting in low or wet sites in your landscape.  The bark is smooth and gray in young trees.  The bark turns brown and develops splits as the tree ages. 

Regions:  Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal plains

Seasons of Interest:

Foliage: Fall, orange red    Flowers: Summer, fragrant    Fruit: Fall, seeds

Wildlife Value: This plant is moderately resistant to damage from deer.  Flowers attract butterflies and other insects.  Seeds eaten by songbirds.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Avoid over fertilization.  

Height:
3-6 ft.
Foliage:
Oval, alternate, simple dark green leaves (1-4" long) turn varying shades of red, orange and gold in autumn on the Virginia willow. It has a long period of fall colors, including mahogany, yellow, orange and reddish colors, with leaves often persisting on the plants until early winter.
Flower:
The Virginia willow features fragrant, tiny white flowers borne in cylindrical, drooping racemes (3-6" long) which cover the shrub with bloom in late spring to early summer. The flowers open from base to tip, are lightly fragrant and are borne on previous season's growth.
Zones:
5 to 9
Habit:
Deciduous shrub
Site:
The Virginia willow is easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. It is adaptable to shade. It prefers moist, humusy soils, but tolerates a wide range of soil conditions. Can form dense colonies by root suckering if left unchecked.
Texture:
Medium
Form:
Erect shrub with clustered branches; rounded arching habit in sun; colony-forming
Exposure:
Sun to partial shade; dry to moist to wet soil
Fruit:
Woody Capsule
Width:
4-6 ft.
Tags:
riparian, obligate wetland, weed, wet sites, deciduous, weedy, drought tolerant, fall color, birds, nectar, fragrant, wildlife, wet soil, wet, rain garden, butterflies, showy

NCCES plant id: 496

Itea virginica Form
Joy Weese Moll, CC BY-NC-2.0
Itea virginica Itea virginica "Little Henry"
Elsa Pexio, CC-BY-SA-2.0
Itea virginica Flower
Eleanor, CC BY-NC-2.0
Itea virginica Flowers close up
Eleanor, CC BY-NC-2.0
Itea virginica Seeds
Fritz Flohr Reynolds, CC BY-NC-2.0
Itea virginica Fall color
Distant Hill Gardens, CC BY-NC-ND - 2.0
Itea virginica Fall color
mpaola andreoni, CC BY-NC-ND - 2.0