Coastal Sweet Pepperbush

Clethra alnifolia

Coastal Sweet Pepperbush, Clethra alnifolia sometimes called Summersweet because of its sweet, honeysuckle- smelling blossoms produces showy bottlebrush flowers in summer and turns a dramatic gold and copper brown in fall. It is native to eastern North America. Tends to grow more in swamplands, but is hardy.

Clethra is an ancient Greek name for alder (Alnus) and alnifolia refers to the course of secondary veins which resembles that of alder leaves. Another common name for the species is White Alder. “Pepperbush” refers to the vague resemblance of its fruits to peppercorns.

Uses: Pollinator friendly hedge, rain garden & pollinator garden.


SPECS: Genus: Clethra; Species: Alnifolia; Plant Type: Shrub; Life Cycle: Perennial; Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade; Soil Moisture: Wet, Medium Wet, Mesic (middle); Height: 3′ — 10′; Spread: 3′; Plant Spacing: 1′ — 2′; Bloom Time: July — August; Bloom Color: Pink, White; Advantages: Erosion control, Fragrant, Low maintenance, Perfect for rain garden, Pollinator conservation, Showy; USDA Zone: 4 — 9; Attracts: Beneficial insects, Bumblebees, Butterflies, Honey bees, Hummingbird moths, Hummingbirds; Tolerant: Deer; Plant Community: Plant summer sweet clethra with other summer bloomers like plum-leaf azalea (Rhododendron prunifolium), Goldsturm black-eyed Susan (Rubeckia fulgida 'Goldsturm'), cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) and black bugbane (Actaea racemosa).;