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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 branches. It may spread by runners and can become invasive. It is a drought tolerant shrub that is native to damp areas of the southeastern US, so it is perfect for planting in low or wet sites in your landscape. 

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.

Play Value: Wildlife Enhancement

Seed: Racemes 

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) that 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:
5-9
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:
play, cpp, riparian, obligate wetland, weed, playground, wet sites, deciduous, weedy, drought tolerant, fall color, birds, nectar, fragrant, butterflies, wet soil, wet, rain garden, wildlife, children’s garden, 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
Itea virginica Itea virginica leaf and bloom structure
Debbie Roos