Clethra (Summersweet Bush) 'ruby spice is a cultivar of one of our most beautiful native shrubs, Clethra alnifolia or Summersweet bush. This is a deciduous shrub of medium stature with rich, dark green foliage, and flowers with head-turning, sensuous, honey-sweet scent in mid- to late-summer when few other shrubs are flowering. The flowers of ‘ruby spice’, however, are a rich rose/pink rather than the bright white of C. alnifolia. They are upright panicles 3.5-4 inches tall, and hold their color well. ‘Ruby Spice’ is a little shorter than C. alnifolia and spreads a bit less aggressively. It will thrive in moist, slightly acid soils and can even tolerate wet conditions. Growth is most vigorous in full sun (if kept moist), but the foliage benefits from some shade, which causes the leaves to be deeper green and more lush. Flowering also occurs in part shade (and some say, even in full shade). Like C. alnifolia species, ‘Ruby Spice’ attracts butterflies, bees, hummingbirds and other pollinators in abundance. Fall color is a good strong yellow to honey brown. It does not appear to have any serious insect or disease problems, and is even reported to be deer resistant. A beautiful shrub for foundation plantings, shrub borders, natural areas near ponds or streams, rain gardens, or in mixed hedges. Planted near a patio, though, its butterflies, hummingbirds and wonderful scent will be all the closer. 3 gal

Summersweet Bush- 'ruby spice'

  • Part sun to full shade