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Itea virginica

Virginia sweetspire add to wishlist

Plant types and subtypes: Trees & Shrubs, Shrubs, Deciduous

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

Water Use: medium, high

Soil Moisture: moist, wet

Soil Description: acid, rich, average, loam, clay, sand

Height: 3'-6'

Bloom Time: April, May, June, July

Bloom Color: white

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Additional Tags: bog plant, colonizing, fall interest, fragrant flowers, naturalizing, pond margin plant, shade garden plant, stream margin plant, swamp plant, wetland plant, woodland plant

Flower of Itea virginica (Virginia sweetspire)
  • Flower of Itea virginica (Virginia sweetspire)
  • Flower of Itea virginica (Virginia sweetspire)
  • Fall foliage of Itea virginica (Virginia sweetspire)
  • Flower of Itea virginica (Virginia sweetspire)

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Description

Itea virginica

Also known as:

Virginia sweetspire

,

Virginia willow

Scientific Synonyms:

Description

Virginia sweetspire is deciduous, but may be semi-evergreen in the south. It is relatively low growing: up to 6 feet, though taller specimens can be found in their native habitat. The oval, green leaves are finely toothed and stay until winter. The foliage changes to an attractive red in fall, but the most striking feature of sweetspire is the abundance of creamy white, fragrant flowers in early spring to mid-summer. Drooping racemes bloom on slightly arching stems. The flowers open from the base to the tip and provide a long flowering period.

Cultivation

This is a very versatile shrub well adapted to most conditions. Itea virginica prefers moist, rich, acidic soil in part-sun. It does not tolerate dry conditions, so care should be taken to keep the soil moist, particularly if placed in a sunny location. This species will naturalize readily by means of suckers. It is best used in group plantings because individual specimens can look spindly, specially in shady locations. It has a long bloom time that can begin as early as April and last as late as July, depending on geographic location. Zones 6-10.

Propagation

Best propagated from semi-hardwood cuttings taken in late summer or early fall. Can be propagated by sowing untreated seeds. However, these are tiny and it is recommended to start them in flats rather than directly in the garden.

Additional Notes

Virginia sweetspire is well adapted to areas with poor drainage and doesn't mind having wet feet. Great for low lying spots.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AL, AR, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MD, MO, MS, NC, NJ, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Endangered: IA
  • Extirpated: PA

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Rosidae
Order Rosales
Family Grossulariaceae Currant family
Genus Itea sweetspire
Species Itea virginica Virginia sweetspire