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Clethra alnifolia ‘Hummingbird’ (Summersweet)

Sweet Pepper Bush 'Hummingbird', Sweet Pepperbush 'Hummingbird', Summer Sweet 'Hummingbird', Summersweet 'Hummingbird'

AGM Award
Clethra Alnifolia 'Hummingbird', Sweet Pepper Bush 'Hummingbird', Sweet Pepperbush 'Hummingbird', Summer Sweet 'Hummingbird', Summersweet 'Hummingbird'
Hydrangea Arborescens Annabelle, Smooth Hydrangea 'Annabelle', Hydrangea 'Annabelle', White hydrangea, Best hydrangeas, AGM Hydrangeas

Clethra alnifolia ‘Hummingbird’ (Summersweet) is a gorgeous, compact, slowly spreading, deciduous shrub that features bottlebrush spikes of extremely fragrant white flowers which bloom for 4-6 weeks in mid to late summer. Opening from bottom to top, they are very attractive to bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, at a time of the year when there’s not a wealth of nectars to choose from. The flowers give way to spikes of dark brown fruits, which persist into winter, providing continuing interest. The serrated, glossy, dark green foliage turns golden-yellow in fall. One of its most attractive characteristics is to produce great blooms in shady locations. ‘Hummingbird’ is a popular Summersweet cultivar because it is more compact and floriferous than the species. A dependable shrub native from coastal Maine south to north Florida and then west to the eastern edge of Texas.

  • Densely-branched, rounded, this summer-flowering shrub spreads slowly by suckers and typically grows 2-4 feet tall (60-120 cm) with a spread of 3-5 ft. (90-150 cm). It enjoys excellent resistance to insects and diseases.
  • This plant is best grown in full sun to part shade in average, medium to wet, acidic, sandy soils. Full shade is tolerated. Do not let the soil dry out! Clay and wet soil tolerant!
  • Recipient of the prestigious Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society and winner of the Gold Medal award of The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
  • Flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Clethra alnifolia is rarely bothered by deer!
  • Mass in mixed shrub borders for dramatic summer blooms. Great flowering shrub for shade or woodland gardens or along stream banks or ponds. May be naturalized in cottage gardens, wild gardens, or naturalized areas.
  • Promptly remove root suckers unless a naturalized look is desired
  • This shrub flowers on new wood, so pruning for shape is best done in spring.
  • Propagate by cuttings.

Requirements

Hardiness 3 - 9
Heat Zones 1 - 9
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, A2, A3
Plant Type Shrubs
Plant Family Clethraceae
Genus Clethra
Common names Clethra
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun, Shade
Season of Interest Summer (Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 2' - 4'
(60cm - 120cm)
Spread 3' - 5'
(90cm - 150cm)
Spacing 36" - 60"
(90cm - 150cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Plant of Merit, Showy
Tolerance Full Shade, Deer, Salt, Clay Soil, Wet Soil
Attracts Bees, Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Ponds And Streams, Rain Gardens
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Traditional Garden, Coastal Garden, Prairie and Meadow
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Clethra acuminata (Cinnamon Clethra)
Clethra alnifolia (Summersweet)
Clethra barbinervis (Japanese Clethra)
Clethra alnifolia ‘Caleb’ VANILLA SPICE’ (Summersweet)
Clethra alnifolia ‘Ruby Spice’ (Summersweet)

Recommended Companion Plants

Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’ (Solomon’s Seal)
Actaea simplex (Atropurpurea Group) ‘James Compton’ (Baneberry)
Matteuccia struthiopteris (Ostrich Fern)
Astilbe
Hosta (Plantain Lily)
Hakonechloa macra (Hakone Grass)
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 3 - 9
Heat Zones 1 - 9
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, A2, A3
Plant Type Shrubs
Plant Family Clethraceae
Genus Clethra
Common names Clethra
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun, Shade
Season of Interest Summer (Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 2' - 4'
(60cm - 120cm)
Spread 3' - 5'
(90cm - 150cm)
Spacing 36" - 60"
(90cm - 150cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Plant of Merit, Showy
Tolerance Full Shade, Deer, Salt, Clay Soil, Wet Soil
Attracts Bees, Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Ponds And Streams, Rain Gardens
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Traditional Garden, Coastal Garden, Prairie and Meadow
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Not sure which Clethra to pick?
Compare Now

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