Clethra alnifolia “Hummingbird”
Known as- Summersweet
Grow Zone - 3 to 9
Type- Deciduous shrub
Smith Scl. hardy? No
ht.- 2 to 4 ft.
Span- 3 to 5 ft.
Coloring- Creamy white
Shade/Light- Full sun to part shade
Moisture- Medium to wet
Hi/Lo Maint- Low
Easily grown in average, moderate wet to wet, well-drained soil in full
sun to part shade. Adaptive to a wide range of soil, dampure and light
conditions. Prefers part shade and consistently damp to wet, acidic soils.
Tolerates full shade, however. Spans slowly by rhizomes.
This summersweet cultivar is a compact, slowly spreading, deciduous shrub
which typically grows only 3-4” tall and features fluffy, bottle
brush-like, terminal, 3-6’ spikes (racemes) of extremely fragrant
white flowers which bloom on current season”s growth for 4-6 weeks
in mid to late summer and serrated, glossy, dark green leaves which turn
a striking yellow in autumn. Flower spikes give way to spikes of dark
brown seed capsules which persist into winter and provide continuing interest.
Flowers are very attractive to butterflies and bees. Somewhat unique among
the summer-flowering shrubs because of its ability to produce good bloom
in shady locations. This cultivar retains a more compact, mounding shape
and is more floriferous than the species (Clethra alnifolia - C230).
No serious insect or disease problems.
This compact summersweet cultivar is an excellent, trouble-free shrub
which masses well in conspicuous areas in lawns or shrub borders where
its attractive foliage, fragrant summer bloom, good fall color and tidy
winter appearance can be showcased. Compact, rounded habit makes it ideal
for small gardens or around foundations. Also a good shrub for wet areas,
such as low spots, stream banks or pond/water garden edges.