|Calycanthus floridus, Sweet Shrub|
Shady Gardens Nursery
Calycanthus floridus has many common names: Sweetshrub, Carolina Allspice, Strawberry Shrub, Pineapple Shrub, Sweet Betsy, but my favorite is “Bubby Bush,” since we call our little boy Bubby.
This beautiful deciduous shrub grows slowly and will eventually form mounds up to 8 feet tall. As the sweetshrub suckers vigorously, the mounds increase in width and will eventually form a thicket.
The many common names of Calycanthus floridus refer its aromatic properties. Most of you are probably familiar with the wonderful fruity scent produced by the unusual flowers. Rusty reddish brown or brownish red blossoms are 1-2 inches across. The blooms adorn the plant in Spring and sporadically throughout the Summer months. Not only are the flowers sweet-smelling, but also the leaves, bark, twigs, and even the roots have a spicy fragrance.
The 4 inch long leaves are rich deep green. Soft and fuzzy to the touch, they turn bright golden yellow in autumn.
Calycanthus floridus is native to the moist woodlands of the Southeastern United States. Its range extends from Virginia, south to Florida, and West to Mississippi. Sweetshrub is appreciated as a landscape plant in Europe and deserves more attention from gardeners here in the United States.
Sweetshrub is easy to grow in average soil, is easy to care for, and is essentially pest-free! Deer do not usually eat Sweetshrub.
Light: Thrives in medium shade or filtered sun.
Moisture: Likes moist soil. Water when dry. This shrub can survive periods of drought if necessary, but will perform much better with regular water.
Calycanthus floridus can be grown throughout most of the country, as it is hardy in USDA Zones 5 - 9.
Try drying the flowers, leaves, twigs and bark for use in potpourri.
For an even sweeter fragrance, try Calycanthus floridus ‘Athens’ – a yellowish white blooming selection favored for its extremely sweet fragrance.