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Allspice Calycanthus chinensis

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Sinocalycanthus chinensis
  • Sinocalycanthus sinensis
Phonetic Spelling
kal-ee-KAN-thus chi-NEN-sis
Description

Native to Southeast China, Chinese sweetshrub grows best in full sun to partial shade in moist, well-drained soil enriched with organic matter.  Do not allow the soil to dry out, as this plant does not tolerate drought.  In areas where the winter temperatures can fluctuate, it should be planted in a protected location with full sun.  These conditions can lead to a longer flowering season.  

Somewhat similar to Camellias, the 2-3" showy flowers appear in springtime with sepals and petals that are so similar that they are all referred to as tepals.  The outer tepals are white with a hint of pink.  The light yellow inner tepals have a waxy appearance.  The flowers are pollinated by small beetles.  

It has glossy green leaves that are rough to the touch and large creamy white flowers in the mid-summer.

In its natural habitat, it grows in shade where protection from strong wind is provided.  These conditions as well as moist soil should be met when used in the landscape.  It has become a rare species in the wild, its survival will not be guaranteed without intervention.

 

Insects, Diseases and Other Plant Problems: No serious insect, disease or other problems.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Hartlage Wine'
    Red-maroon flowers.
'Hartlage Wine'
Tags:
#deciduous#shrub#deciduous shrub#disease resistant#deer resistant#cream flowers#glossy leaves#large flowers#flowers mid-summer#rare#dry soils intolerant#rabbit browsing plant#drought intolerant#shrub borders#wet soils intolerant#insect resistant#tree
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Hartlage Wine'
    Red-maroon flowers.
'Hartlage Wine'
Tags:
#deciduous#shrub#deciduous shrub#disease resistant#deer resistant#cream flowers#glossy leaves#large flowers#flowers mid-summer#rare#dry soils intolerant#rabbit browsing plant#drought intolerant#shrub borders#wet soils intolerant#insect resistant#tree
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Calycanthus
    Species:
    chinensis
    Family:
    Calycanthaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Used in the landscape as a shrub or small tree.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern China
    Wildlife Value:
    Small beetles pollinate the flowers.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Fragrance
    Shade
    Textural
    Dimensions:
    Height: 6 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 6 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Erect
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Description:
    The fruits are top-shaped with achenes. They have long silky hairs. They overwinter on the shrub.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Pink
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Solitary
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Cup
    Flower Petals:
    7 - 20 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    The creamy pinkish-blue to white outer portion of the petals. Yellow inner portion with maroon markings. Yellow stamens. Blooms resemble camellias.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Rough
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The 6" leaves are a glossy dark green. They have a bit of roughness on the upper surface.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Older stems have gray to gray-brown bark.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Patio
    Walkways
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Foundation Planting
    Small groups
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Diseases
    Insect Pests