Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wildflower Wednesday: Oh, So Sweet Sweetshrub

Calycanthus floridus Sweetshrub
Calycanthus floridus has the common names of Eastern sweetshrub or Carolina allspice.  This native plant provides beneficial cover and food for wildlife, it has seasonal interest, and the flowers and fruit are truly unique. Crush the leaves and twigs to enjoy their delightful fragrance. Hardy in zones 4 - 9, sweetshrub is easily adaptable to a range of light, soil and water conditions!

It is a 6-12 ft. deciduous shrub with glossy, aromatic, leathery, dark-green foliage. Terminal blossoms are solitary and dark red with numerous overlapping, strap-like petals. Flower are often quite fragrant. The leaves become yellow in fall but are usually not showy. It is very resistant to disease and insect problems.1

I planted three of these interesting shrubs in my shade garden several years ago. They delight me more each year.

The shrubs' first spring.

Located at the back of the shade garden.

Spring 2011 - they filled out nicely.
Sweetshrub adds another texture and fragrance to the shade garden.
Sweet shrub blooms from April to July. The dark red flowers remind me of lotus blossoms.

Sweet shrub flower
The green, bell-shaped seedpod turns to light brown. It is somewhat woody at maturity, 1 to 1 1/2 inches long, maturing in late summer/ early fall.

Sweet shrub seedpod in summer

The 'capsule' turns brown in the fall.

Last weekend we had the first snowstorm of the winter season. (It's amazing that it didn't arrive until near the end of January.) My garden looks so much better covered in snow: The true bones of the garden appear and you can better appreciate those plants with winter interest, like sweetshrub.

I awoke to snow falling at the weekend.
Three calycanthus shrubs next to the garden swing.
Seed pods remain on the shrubs.

Seed pod in the snow.
Upper field.
I am so glad I didn't cut down the ornamental grasses.
Most of the snow has gone already and my garden is a mess of mud. What a weird winter this is.

I am celebrating native plants today with Gail at Clay and Limestone.

Happy Wildflower Wednesday!

Pamela x

1. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Native Plant Database.

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  1. I've never seen a sweetshrub--how interesting! Will they continue to grow or have they reached their full height? Your garden looks very pretty all covered with snow. I'm sure we'll get more this season to cover up the mud there now!

  2. Thank you for showcasing a plant I didn't know much about, Pam. Those seedpods are so cool. Our first snow fell a few weeks ago, but we're mostly in a cycle of snow/mud, too. Your garden looks lovely in the snow.

  3. This is a shrub I have been considering as an addition to my garden. After reading about your affection for it, I think it has moved to the top of the list.

  4. Bumble Lush - Calycanthus grows 6+ feet, so mine should get taller. Mine are planted in full shade, however, so maybe that will restrict their height. P x

  5. I don't know this shrub at all. I do like it's flowers, and the seedpods certainly add alot of extra interest too. No snow for us yet, I'm wondering if winter is going to miss us out this year.

  6. Very nice post for Wildflower Wednesday Pam. Come back and read my reply to your comment, I think you can join along at some point without conflict.

  7. Pam,
    Those pictures show me a way of life and environment I am not familiar with. It makes me understand how people live in those climate and how they get to enjoy nature's bounty.

    Wonderful photographs.


    I am unable to comment using Gardenerat60 wordpress account!

  8. I love the flowers and decorative seedpods! I'm not really familiar with it, though I think I've heard of Carolina allspice before. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Hi Pam,

    It does look like a very pretty shrub!

    I'm glad your snow has melted, although it's always a shame that we're left with flattened and mushy plants instead... Perhaps it's best if the snow stayed a little longer! :D

  10. This has been an odd year! Sorry you're stuck with all that mud. The ground will soak it up eventually. I had a sweetshrub once. I kick myself every time I see one now, because I foolishly got rid of it. Yours are very pretty.

  11. Lovely sweet shrubs! My mother loved them, so they always remind me of her. I moved some of her bushes to my house, but they don't smell as sweet as hers did. Or maybe its the memory that is sweeter!
    Happy Wildflower Wednesday!

  12. It seems we're all having a weird winter, but wish we had snow instead of miserable grey skies x

  13. A friend has this in her garden and it is lovely. Seems to self-seed a lot or send out runners so I might ask for a bit

  14. One of my favs: native, fragrant, grows at woods' edge.

    Thanks for reminding me that it's time to dig a few suckers to plant elsewhere.

  15. Pam, You've convinced me I have, have to I tell you, get this shrub for my garden. Happy WW! gail

  16. I planted two of these last year, and I was pleased with their first year's progress. I am looking forward to seeing how they do this year. Yours look very happy!

  17. Hello Pam - Thank you for introducing me to sweetshrub.

    As my gardens mature, neighboring trees are forcing some of them into the shade. I am always on the lookout for a showy specimen to plant in those areas.

  18. Couldn't agree more about the weird Winter. Finally got snow in my gardens and it melted in a day.

  19. Pam, We are fortunate to have a stand of sweetshrub in our backyard along a fence. I planted my purple leaved heuchera plants near them to bring out the blooms, which smell nice on the wind.

    Would you be available for a PA garden bloggers get-together the weekend of April 20-21? I am working on nailing down the days with Carolyn, but I think that visiting Longwood on Fri and Carolyn on Sat (and Chanticleer which is very near to her place), unless Sunday is better for you. Let me know by email if it will work! Thanks!!

  20. Love that plant! Interestingly, we have a Western version of it here in CA - unfortunatly it prefers moist areas near little rivers, so not so good for my garden.

    One day I'll remember wildflower wendesday.

  21. Interesting shrub, and hardy too! Thanks for sharing the info on this one :)

  22. Pam thank you for the intro to the Calycanthus floridus - I will look out for this plant now. Love your blog right back!

  23. I'm a sucker for a sweet fragrance in the garden, I'll have to investigate this one. But where would I put it? LOL Hey Pam, do me a favor and make a note of my new blog address, my old one was deleted due to someone else's fraud. Grrrrrr.

  24. Pam your sweetshrub is gorgeous and the snow in your garden is stunning. I wanted to let you know that I have nominated you for the versatile blogger award. I so love your blog and friendship. You are not obligated to do anything with the award Pam. Details are at the link below...

  25. Love all your little guests! I love your blog and have awarded you with the Versatile Blogger Award over at my blog!! Thanks for the great read, I sure do enjoy your posts! Cheers Julia xx

  26. That sweet shrub is quite lovely. I'm not familiar with it. And the photos of the snow... make me quite homesick! Great post today :-)