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     Sweet Pepperbush, or Summersweet, a lover of moist soils and dappled shade, fits the category of sought-after plants that flower in mid-summer, just when you thought all the blooming had passed.


     This mid-summer nectar is just the ticket for pollinators feeling the pinch after a bountiful spring.  Hummingbirds, butterflies, beetles, wasps, flies, native bees -- they're all on the move for the Sweet Pepperbush.  It's also a larval host to the White-M Hairstreak and other butterfly and moth species.


     With its airy, mounded form, Summersweet is a slow spreader that works well in a garden setting yet still retains a wild-ish look.  It grows fast and figured out the magic trick of blooming in its first season.  


     Its leaves give off an attractive two-toned effect, starting out bright green and maturing to dark green, contrasting beautifully against spikes of white flowers before yellowing in the fall.


     Photos: Creative Commons


1 Gallon
    • Latin: Clethra alnifolia
    • Pollinator value: Very High
    • Wetland status: FAC
    • Current height: 1-foot seedlings
    • Mature height: 4-9 feet; 4-6-foot spread
    • Light: Full sun to light shade (preferred)
    • Soil: Consistently moist, sometimes wet
    • Bloom: White, summer, alluring musky fragrance
    • Fruit: Brown fall capsule
    • Foliage: Deciduous, showy yellow fall
    • Landscape: Screen, specimen, border, native or rain garden, along ponds and swampy areas
    • Resistance: Deer, salt
    • More information and native range here
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