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Clethra alnifolia - L.

Common Name Sweet Pepper Bush, Coastal sweetpepperbush, Summer Sweet
Family Clethraceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Swamps, damp thickets and sandy woods[43].
Range Eastern N. America - Maine to New Jersey, south to Florida and Mississippi.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Wet Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Clethra alnifolia Sweet Pepper Bush, Coastal sweetpepperbush, Summer Sweet


Clethra alnifolia Sweet Pepper Bush, Coastal sweetpepperbush, Summer Sweet
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:KENPEI

 

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Summary

Bloom Color: White. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Late summer, Mid summer. Form: Oval, Upright or erect.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Clethra alnifolia is a deciduous Shrub growing to 2.5 m (8ft) by 2.5 m (8ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 3. It is in flower from August to September, and the seeds ripen in October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Hedge; Bog Garden;

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.


None known

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Other Uses

Hedge  Hedge  Soap

The stalk of the blossom is used as a soap substitute[106]. The plants tolerate clipping and make an attractive informal hedge[245].

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Pest tolerant, Massing, Screen, Seashore, Specimen. Prefers a well-drained lime-free sandy and peaty soil[11, 182]. It loves abundant moisture at its roots[11]. Prefers a sunny position or partial shade[164]. Dormant plants are hardy to about -30°c[184, 200]. A good bee plant[106], the flowers are very aromatic[K]. There are some named varieties developed for their ornamental value. 'Paniculata' has longer-lasting branching panicles of flowers[182]. Like the species type, the flowers of this cultivar are very sweetly scented[245]. Suckers are freely produced when the plant is grown in conditions similar to its natural habitat[200], the plant forming thickets[182]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Special Features:North American native, Wetlands plant, Attracts butterflies, Fragrant flowers, Attractive flowers or blooms.

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The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

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Propagation

Seed - sow early spring in a greenhouse[113]. Only just cover the seed and keep the pot moist. Germination usually takes place within 1 - 3 months at 13°c[164]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out once they are more than 20cm tall in late spring or early summer after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 7 - 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame[11, 113]. Very easy[113]. Root cuttings in December/January[113]. Suckers in the dormant season[113]. They can be planted out direct into their permanent positions if required. Layering of current years growth in late autumn. Takes 18 months. Can also be done in early spring[200].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

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Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Clethra barbinervis 10
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Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

1143200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Judy Fishkin   Thu Dec 10 2009

A local garden store identified a volunteer bush I have as Clethra alnifolia but the leaves are red and I have no idea which one I have.

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