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Summersweet Clethra alnifolia 'Crystalina' PP21,561

Other plants called Summersweet:

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

Clethra alnifolia is the only species of Clethra native to North America.  Grows naturally in poorly drained, moist soils, getting larger and producing more suckers if provided plenty of water (once established, it can thrive in drier conditions).   Summersweets are somewhat unique among flowering shrubs because of their ability to bloom in shady locations in late summer when few other shrubs are in bloom.  

'Crystalina', commonly sold under the trade name of SUGARTINA, is a diminutive and refined summersweet with showy, fragrant flowers.  Reining in the height of Summersweet 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.

Tolerates wet soil. It will grow in full sun, but does best in light, dappled shade. Clethra prefers 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. 

Season of interest:

      Bloom: Summer    Leaf: Fall/leaf color  Twig/Bark: Winter

 

Insects, Diseases and Other Problems: Damage caused by spider mites can be severe in hot, dry conditions.

 

Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Crystalina'
Tags:
#hummingbirds#butterflies#showy flowers#deciduous#fall color#birds#full sun#fragrant flowers#acidic soil#wildlife plant#salt tolerant#full shade#winter interest#coastal#wet sites#sandy soil#salt spray#clay tolerant#mci#part shade#clay soil tolerant#pollinator plant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Crystalina'
Tags:
#hummingbirds#butterflies#showy flowers#deciduous#fall color#birds#full sun#fragrant flowers#acidic soil#wildlife plant#salt tolerant#full shade#winter interest#coastal#wet sites#sandy soil#salt spray#clay tolerant#mci#part shade#clay soil tolerant#pollinator plant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Clethra
    Species:
    alnifolia
    Family:
    Clethraceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    It is used for soap (flowers produce lather when crushed in water).
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Stem Cutting
    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
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Rounded
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • 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:
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Black, peppercorn-like capsules which persist throughout winter.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    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:
    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 Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    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.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Naturalized Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Foundation Planting
    Hedge
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Salt
    Wet Soil