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Pink Spires Summersweet

Clethra alnifolia ‘Pink Spires’

How are the heights measured?

All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.

What is a gallon container?

Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.

How does the delivery process work?

All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!

Why are some states excluded from shipping?

The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.

About Me

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The Pink Spires Summersweet is a broad, upright deciduous shrub that typically grows to about 6 feet tall and wide, with attractive dark-green foliage that turns golden yellow in fall. It blooms through the late summer into early fall, with 6-inch spikes of scented flowers that are darker pink in bud and lighter pink when they open. This is a selection of an American wild shrub, and very attractive to butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. Grow it in shrub beds, along streams and beside ponds, and in woodland areas.

  • Ideal shrub for late summer blooming
  • Dark spikes of rose-pink buds and pink flowers
  • Terrific choice for shady beds and beneath trees
  • Magnet for hummingbirds and butterflies
  • A selection of a plant native to America

The Pink Spires Summersweet grows in everything from full sun to full shade, and it is hardy even in zone 3. It thrives in most soils, doing best in damper areas, making it ideal for wet and shady spots. It normally isn’t bothered by pests or diseases, and deer leave it alone. A simple trim in late winter or early spring will keep it compact and tidy. Don’t trim in early summer, as this will stop it blooming.

Plant Hardiness Zones 3-9
Mature Width 4-6
Mature Height 3-8
Soil Conditions Moist, Well-Drained Soil
Sunlight Full Sun to Full Shade
Drought Tolerance Poor Drought Tolerance
Zones 3-9

Summersweet or pepper bush is a native shrub for flowering in summer. You will see its sweetly-scented slender spires of white blooms in both sunny and shady spots in many gardens, attractive hummingbirds, butterflies and bees. Now imagine that sight, but with blooms of the most delightful soft pink, darker in the bud, softening to paler shades as the flowers mature. Planted alongside its white sister, or alone, either way this lovely shrub will raise your garden to another level of color. Thriving across most zones, and growing in any soil that isn’t too dry, it is especially delightful near water, which it loves. Because it will grow and bloom even in full shade it is also incredibly valuable in every garden, and it’s low maintenance requirements are the (pink) icing on the cake of a valuable and top-quality shrub your garden shouldn’t be without.

Growing Pink Spires Summersweet

Size and Appearance

The Pink Spires Summersweet is a deciduous woody shrub with many branches growing from the base, making a dense clump. It is variable in height, perhaps growing no more than 3 feet tall but more typically reaching 5 to 6 feet. It is capable of growing as much as 8 feet tall when planted in rich, moist ground and left to grow naturally. It forms a broad clump that is between 4 and 6 feet wide, doing a good job of filling spaces in your garden. The stems are covered in slender leaves that are glossy, dark green and 3 or 4 inches long. They have a serrated edge and turn rich shades of golden yellow in fall.

Blooming begins around late July, and continues for several weeks, often lasting into early September. At the tip of every branch, and on short side shoots that also develop, a long spire of buds, up to 6 inches tall, develops. As these buds prepare to open they take on a rich rose-pink color and then the blooms open to a lighter pink, creating a charming effect. Flowers open from the bottom of the spike to the top, and stay open for a long time, gradually fading to the softest of creamy pinks. The blossoms give out a rich and sweet perfume – some people liken it to licorice – that attracts insects like butterflies and bees, as well as being a big hit with hummingbirds. Gradually the blooms fade to become clusters of round, black-brown seed pods that look a lot like peppercorns. They don’t have any spiciness though, so don’t go filling the peppermill with them. These pods make an interesting winter feature after the leaves have fallen.

Using Pink Spires Summersweet in Your Garden

This versatile shrub can be used in all your garden beds, and it’s a great choice for summer blooming, a time of year when there may be fewer flowers in the garden. Plant it alone in small or medium beds, and use it in groups, spacing plants 4 feet apart, to fill larger areas. It looks great planted under trees or at the edge of woodlands, and it is perfect along a stream, where it might easily be found growing naturally. It is also resistant to both salt spray and brackish water, so plant it in coastal areas without any worries. There are few bushes that fit so well into gardens ranging from the neatly formal to the wild and casual.

Hardiness

The Pink Spires Summersweet grows in zone 3 and through all the warmer zones, right into zone 9. It can be grown all across the country with ease.

Sun Exposure and Soil Conditions

Morning sun and afternoon shade are perfect for this bush, but it will grow in full sun too, as long as the soil is not dry. It enjoys all partially-shaded areas, and full shade too, again as long as there is moisture. It revels in wet ground and will take all the water you can give it, but once established it does have reasonable drought resistance, and it is perfectly happy – and more compact – in regular garden conditions.

Maintenance and Pruning

It doesn’t take much work to grow the Pink Spires Summersweet. Pests and diseases normally never make problems, and deer usually leave it alone. A simple pruning in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins, with keep it tidy and more compact. Avoid summer trimming, as this can remove the developing flower buds.

History and Origin of Pink Spires Summersweet

The summersweet, Clethra alternifolia, is a native shrub that grows wild, often in coastal areas or around swamps and streams, all the way from Maine to northern Florida. It also grows around the Gulf into Texas. Wild plants have white flowers, and so do most of the garden varieties, which are all excellent companions for this pink one. Occasionally plants in the wild show pinkish tones in the buds, opening to near-white blooms. These were called ‘Rosea’. The very best forms kept that pink coloring after the blooms opened, and these were being recorded by botanists as early as 1906. The name ‘Pink Spires’ was given to these outstanding plants a long time ago, and that is what they are still called today.

Buying Pink Spires Summersweet at The Tree Center

If you already know the white-flowering summersweet, like ‘Hummingbird’, or ‘Sixteen Candles’, imagine them with a backdrop of ‘Pink Spires’ – wonderful! If you are new to Summersweet, then get on board with a superb summer bloomer that is incredibly versatile and fills those shady spots with light and beauty. The Pink Spires Summersweet is a unique variety, but order your bushes now, because our stock will soon all be gone.

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Pink Spires Summersweet

Clethra alnifolia ‘Pink Spires’

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