Native groundcover shrub — Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica ‘Henry’s Garnet’)

Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica ‘Henry’s Garnet’) is a fantastic low maintenance deciduous shrub that is a native in a good part of the Southeastern United States and Mid-Atlantic region. It does well in Zones 5-9. Prefers part sun to part shade conditions and moist soils with LOTS of organic matter. In the right conditions, it grows 3-5 feet high and wide. It sends out runners and will continue to spread, especially if you let fall leaves remain under the plants (its semi-evergreen in southern zones). Virginia Sweetspire is excellent for massing and as a groundcover. It is an ideal place for small animals to hide; the bunnies will thank you and so will the bees when it blooms. It has beautiful long sweet smelling white blooms, from May to June, and stunning fall foliage that has shades of red, copper, gold, yellow and green.

As more and more gardeners move toward plants that are native and help pollinators you should consider Virginia Sweetspire if you have the right conditions. What makes it such a great plant is it also looks terrific and is extremely low maintenance.

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