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Itea virginica

Phonetic Spelling
eye-TEE-ah ver-JIN-ih-kah
Description

Itea virginica, commonly called Virginia sweetspire, is a native, deciduous shrub with an attractive arching form, fragrant flowers, and mahogany to orange-red fall foliage.

Virginia sweetspire prefers moist, humusy soils, but tolerates a wide range of soil conditions.  It is a drought-tolerant shrub adapted to shady, damp areas, and works well for planting in low or wet sites in your landscape. It can form dense colonies by root suckering if left unchecked, can spread to the point of being invasive.

 

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

 

Cultivars:
  • 'Henry's Garnet'
  • 'Little Henry'
    A popular dwarf cultivar with an attractive arching form that grows 3'-5' tall.
  • 'Sarah Eve'
  • 'Saturnalia'
Tags:
#fragrant#butterflies#deciduous#fall color#birds#rain garden#drought tolerant#weed#wildlife plant#showy#weedy#nectar plant#riparian#wetlands#playground#wet sites#cpp#low flammability#children's garden#fire resistant
Cultivars:
  • 'Henry's Garnet'
  • 'Little Henry'
    A popular dwarf cultivar with an attractive arching form that grows 3'-5' tall.
  • 'Sarah Eve'
  • 'Saturnalia'
Tags:
#fragrant#butterflies#deciduous#fall color#birds#rain garden#drought tolerant#weed#wildlife plant#showy#weedy#nectar plant#riparian#wetlands#playground#wet sites#cpp#low flammability#children's garden#fire resistant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Itea
    Species:
    virginica
    Family:
    Iteaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southeastern United States
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Flowers attract butterflies and other insects. Seeds are eaten by songbirds.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Enhancement
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Resistant to fire in the landscape. This plant is moderately resistant to damage from deer.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Clumping
    Erect
    Rounded
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    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
    Soil Drainage:
    Frequent Standing Water
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Good Dried
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Woody capsules arranged in racemes, showy in the fall.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    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.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Orange
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    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.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Riparian
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Rain Garden
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Wet Soil
    Problems:
    Weedy