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Clethra acuminata

mountain sweetpepperbush add to wishlist

Plant types and subtypes: Trees & Shrubs, Shrubs, Shrub-like Trees, Deciduous

Light Requirements: sun, part-sun, part-shade

Water Use: medium

Soil Moisture: moist

Soil Description: acid, average, loam, gravel/rock

Height: 8'-12'

Bloom Time: July, August

Bloom Color: white

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 6, 7

Additional Tags: attracts bees, attracts birds, attracts butterflies, clumping, colonizing, fall interest, fragrant flowers

Clethra acuminata (mountain sweetpepperbush)
  • Clethra acuminata (mountain sweetpepperbush)
  • Clethra acuminata (mountain sweetpepperbush)
  • Clethra acuminata (mountain sweetpepperbush)
  • Clethra acuminata (mountain sweetpepperbush)

Pricing & Availability


Clethra acuminata

Also known as:

mountain sweetpepperbush


mountain pepper-bush


cinnamonbark clethra

Scientific Synonyms:


Clethra acuminata is a deciduous shrub that usually grows to a height of 12', occasionally to a height of 20' or more, at which point it can be considered a small tree. It is multi-branched, with a dense form, and bears abundant terminal racemes of white, bell-shaped flowers that emit a spicy, peppery fragrance. The flowers are borne mid-summer, and are followed by brown seed capsules that persist through winter. Its pealing reddish bark is particularly visually appealing and led to the common name "cinnamonbark clethra". Fall foliage is golden-colored.


Mountain sweetpepperbush a very attractive and easy to grow deciduous shrub. It is ideal for small spaces, in full sun to part-shade, in average to rich well-drained soil. Established plants are tolerant of dry conditions. It can be used in grouped plantings, or to naturalize large areas, were its tendency to produce suckers will rapidly lead to the formation of beautiful thickets. Zones 6-7


Propagate from seed, with no pretreatment. May also be propagated from softwood cuttings.

Additional Notes

This species is underutilized and rarely found in cultivation. It is an excellent alternative to crepe myrtles, with the additional benefit of producing fragrant flowers that are attractive to pollinators.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:


Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Dilleniidae
Order Ericales
Family Clethraceae Clethra family
Genus Clethra sweetpepperbush
Species Clethra acuminata mountain sweetpepperbush