Add Spring Fragrance with Carolina Allspice

March 21, 2016

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Add some fragrance to your spring garden with Carolina allspice (Calycanthus florida). This suckering shrub is native from Virginia to Florida and hardy in zones 4 to 9. Also known as sweetshrub the plant grows 3 to 9 feet tall by 6 to 12 feet wide.

You’ll have the best results when growing this plant in partial shade and moist loamy soils.  The plant grows slower but will tolerate drier soil and full sun locations. The spring flowers have a fruity scent often described as pineapple, strawberry, melon or even bubble gum. The intensity can vary from plant to plant, so whenever possible, buy it when in full bloom.

The flowers make great cut flowers and the leaves turn a golden yellow in the fall. Plant these near an entrance or patio where you can enjoy the fragrance or in shrub borders or native plant gardens.

A bit more information: Carolina allspice is easy to maintain.  Prune right after flowering if you need to shape or reduce its size. Remove any unwanted outer suckers to contain its growth. And fortunately the deer tend to leave it be.  

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