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Super Summer Sweet

Summer sweet (Clethra alnifolia) is a star for our Chesapeake gardens. This deciduous shrub blooms in the heat of summer with fantastic fragrance.  Summer sweet grows and blooms with white or pink flowers in full sun or part shade.  It’s easy care and rarely needs pruning.  It would make a handsome hedge. Bees and butterflies love it.  It tolerates clay soils.

Whether you plant it in sun or shade, most sources say it loves moist soil.  That said, this one

This shrub is really a standout. It adds habitat value, vigorously flowers and provides gold fall color.  For smaller gardens, compact varieties are available. Summer sweet is also sometimes called sweet pepper bush.  It really is superb.

More information:

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center fact sheet on Summer sweet.

A list of cultivars of Summer sweet from the Piedmont Master Gardners. Please scroll to the bottom of the page.


We want you to be as excited about planting Chesapeake natives as we are. “Plant This or That” gives you a native alternative to popular plants. Other posts highlight really fabulous fauna native to the Chesapeake.

Nuts for Natives, avid gardener, Baltimore City admirer, Chesapeake Bay Watershed restoration enthusiast, and public service fan.

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