Barbara’s favorite Native plants at Southern Mansion
Barbara’s Favorite wetland indigenous plants.
(Clethra alnifolia) is a fantastic shrub with all-season garden interest and can be grown throughout South New Jersey. This native species, also called sweet pepperbush, flowers profusely for 4 to 6 weeks during July and August when few other plants are in bloom, and the flowers fill the air with their spicy, sugary-delight fragrance.
The inflorescence, or flower cluster, is pink on the species that is native to my Willow Creek Winery, varies from 3 to 6 inches long and is extremely fragrant. The flowers are attractive and as a BONUS profusely draw hummingbirds, bees and butterflies, and the resulting dark brown seed capsules will attract many varieties of birds during the autumn. Bloom time in the Southern Outer Coastal region of Jersey is mid-July through early August.
Summersweet clethra is late to leaf out in the spring, and the foliage is an attractive medium to dark green color. Leaves are alternate, typically 1 to 2½ inches long and give the plant what is considered to be a medium texture. Fall color can be a lovely vibrant golden yellow to the great enjoyment of leaf peepers.
For me Clethra grows best in acid, moist, wetlands, or well-drained soils. Once established, plants will tolerate short periods of drought.
This native plant will grow in full sun to total shade, but will grow best in light, dappled shade, or with morning sun and afternoon shade. These shrubs will even bloom profusely in complete shade. Enjoy this all round great perennial shrub that is native and you can incorporate into your gardens too!