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Virginia Sweetspire, Virginia-willow, Sweet-spine, Tassel-white
Itea virginica


In late spring, the graceful, arching branches of Virginia sweetspire droop with long racemes of fragrant white flowers at their tips. In fall the oval leaves turn purples and reds, holding their color sometimes for an unusually long time. It is a slender shrub, found along streams and lakes in partial shade, or in the understory of moist woods from East Texas to Florida. In the wild, it can look straggly, but it is more dense in cultivation, which can also be promoted by mass plantings or judicious pruning. It spreads relatively quickly by underground stems and can form colonies, but it is easily divided and thinned. Despite its natural preference for moist, acid soils, Virginia sweetspire can tolerate some drought and adapt to more alkaline sites. Since its flowers appear after the flush of spring flowers and before summer's, and because of its persistent fall color and general adaptability, it has great ornamental value, both for the garden and for naturalizing or erosion control in moist sites. It will flower best with more sun, but will not tolerate harsh west sun or reflected heat.

Plant Habit or Use: small shrub
medium shrub

Exposure: partial sun

Flower Color: white

Blooming Period: spring

Fruit Characteristics: five-valved capsule

Height: 5 to 9 feet

Width: 6 to 10 feet

Plant Character: deciduous

Heat Tolerance: medium

Water Requirements:

Soil Requirements: adaptable

USDA Hardiness Zone: 5

Additional Comments:

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