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Clethra alnifolia – Summersweet

Clethra alnifolia – Summersweet

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Discover the allure of Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia) with its captivating spikes of fragrant white flowers. A pollinator magnet, this must-have plant is perfect for both pollinator and rain gardens. Its delightful scent and nature show are best enjoyed up close, so plant it where you can savor the view. For a truly stunning display, group three together or feature one as a striking specimen plant. Bring beauty and a buzz of activity to your garden with Summersweet.


Please note: Most pictures represent mature plants. Unless otherwise specified, all of our plants are sold in 4″ pots to make shipping possible and will mature in time.

Learn more about how the process works and how our plants are delivered.

Plant in 4" pot

Additional information


Single, 6-Pack, 9-Pack, Flat



Native Range

North America


4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Height Range (ft.)

3.00 to 8.00

Spread (ft.)

3.00 to 6.00

Bloom Time


Bloom Description

Fragrant, White

Soil Type

Clay, Loamy, Sandy


Full Sun, Part Shade, Partial Sun


Medium, Wet

Suggested Use

Massing, Screen, Seashore, Specimen

Leaf Retention

Broadleaf, Deciduous


Soil pH requirements

Acidic, Neutral

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Product Description

Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia) stands out in the garden for its highly fragrant white flower spikes that bloom in mid to late summer. This native shrub is not only a feast for the eyes but also a haven for pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, making it an essential component of any pollinator-friendly garden.

Why Summersweet Belongs in Your Garden

  • Fragrance: Its sweet, spicy aroma can fill the air, making it a delightful addition to spaces where you spend time relaxing.
  • Wildlife Attraction: Beyond pollinators, Summersweet’s seeds provide food for birds in the fall, making your garden a year-round wildlife haven.
  • Moisture Loving: Exceptionally suitable for rain gardens or moist areas, it thrives in wet soil, making it a beautiful solution for challenging wet garden spots.
  • Shade Tolerant: While it enjoys full sun to partial shade, Summersweet is one of the few flowering shrubs that bloom profusely even in shaded areas.
  • Seasonal Interest: With its lush green foliage in spring and summer, followed by golden yellow leaves in the fall, Summersweet offers multi-seasonal appeal.

Growing Summersweet

  • Sunlight: Prefers full sun to partial shade, with more flowers produced in sunnier spots.
  • Soil: Adaptable to a variety of soil types, but it flourishes in moist, well-drained, acidic soil.
  • Watering: While drought-tolerant once established, it benefits from regular watering in dry periods, especially in its first few years.
  • Planting: Space plants 3 to 6 feet apart to allow for growth and air circulation. Consider planting in groups for a visually impactful display or as a single specimen for a focal point.

Landscape Ideas

Summersweet’s versatility makes it an excellent choice for a variety of garden settings. Use it to anchor a rain garden, line a pathway with its fragrant blooms, or plant it near decks and windows where its fragrance can be enjoyed. It’s also effective as a natural hedge or privacy screen.

Incorporating Summersweet into your garden not only adds beauty and fragrance but also supports local ecosystems by providing essential resources for pollinators and wildlife. With its easy care and stunning appearance, Clethra alnifolia is a top choice for gardeners looking to make a positive impact on the environment while enjoying a beautiful, thriving garden.


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Summer Shipping Concerns

Please expect some delays in shipping during summer months!

Shipping perishable items in the heat of summer can be tricky to say the least. Our goal is to try to get your plants to you in the best shape possible.

This means we may hold off on shipping items during periods of excessively high temperatures to give your new plants the best chance of surviving their journey in good shape.