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Summersweet Clethra Clethra alnifolia 'Crystalina' PP21,561

Phonetic Spelling
KLETH-rah al-nih-FOH-lee-ah
Description

Clethra alnifolia is the only species of Clethra native to North America. It grows naturally in poorly drained, moist soils, becoming larger and producing more suckers if provided with plenty of water (once established, it can thrive in drier conditions, but does not tolerate drought). C. alnifolia are unique among flowering shrubs because of their ability to bloom in shady locations in late summer when few other shrubs are in bloom.  

'Crystalina', is a cultivar of C. alnifolia, commonly sold under the trade name of SUGARTINA. It is a diminutive and refined summersweet with showy, fragrant flowers.  If you reign in the height of Summersweet with pruning, it greatly expands the potential of this native shrub in modern landscapes. Selected from a population of seedlings derived from an open pollinated 'Ruby Spice', 'Crystalina' provides a handsome improvement with a compact, rounded form. Flowers are particularly showy with long, floriferous racemes. It roots readily from softwood cuttings.

Like other Clethra, this cultivar tolerates wet soil. It will grow in full sun, but does best in light, dappled shade. Clethra prefer part shade and consistently moist, acidic, sandy soils. Soils should not be allowed to dry out. It tolerates clay soils and full shade and is excellent for coastal gardens due to salt-spray tolerance.

Insects, Diseases and Other Problems: 

In hot or dry conditions, the plant is susceptible to damage caused by spider mites, which can be severe.

More information on Clethra alnifolia.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#hummingbirds#showy flowers#deciduous#full sun tolerant#fragrant flowers#wildlife plants#salt tolerant#winter interest#fall interest#salt spray tolerant#mci#acidic soils tolerant#pollinator plant#sandy soils tolerant#wet soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#bird friendly#butterfly friendly#partial shade tolerant#heavy shade tolerant#coastal plant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#hummingbirds#showy flowers#deciduous#full sun tolerant#fragrant flowers#wildlife plants#salt tolerant#winter interest#fall interest#salt spray tolerant#mci#acidic soils tolerant#pollinator plant#sandy soils tolerant#wet soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#bird friendly#butterfly friendly#partial shade tolerant#heavy shade tolerant#coastal plant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Clethra
    Species:
    alnifolia
    Family:
    Clethraceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    It is used for soap (flowers produce lather when crushed in water).
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southeastern United States
    Distribution:
    North Carolina south to Florida and west to Texas.
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Clethra is an excellent plant in pollinator gardens. The fragrant, white flowers and nectar are very attractive to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Many birds and mammals eat the fruit and aid in seed dispersal. Deer will eat it only when other forage vegetation is limited.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Defines Paths
    Fragrance
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Rebounds from fire in the landscape. Soil compaction tolerant.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    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:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Black, peppercorn-like capsules which persist throughout winter.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Cup
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Showy and fragrant, lasting up to 6 weeks during the middle of summer when other flowering shrubs are not blooming due to heat! Intense spicy fragrant, white, long, floriferous racemes, formed by up to 100 individual flowers. Flowering occurs on the current season's growth. Black, peppercorn-like capsules that persist throughout winter. Good identification feature.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblong
    Obovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Alternate, simple, glossy, sharply serrated medium to deep green leaves; 1½ to 4 inches long; often woolly or tomentose below; it is late to leaf out in spring and has outstanding pale yellow to golden-brown fall color.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Exfoliating
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Naturalized Area
    Patio
    Pond
    Recreational Play Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rain Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Foundation Planting
    Hedge
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Erosion
    Fire
    Salt
    Wet Soil