Friday, November 4, 2011

Planting and Growing the Virginia Sweetspire

(Virginia sweetspire photo from SB_Johnny at wikipedia via GFDL)

The Virginia sweetspire is also known as the tassel-white. It is a native plant to the United States and a member of the saxifrage family of plants. Botanically, it is called Itea virginica.

Virginia Sweetspire Description

Growing up to 8 feet high, this native has slender branches and deciduous green leaves that turn red and purple in the fall. Flowers are white and will bloom in spires. They open base to tip so bloom times appear longer. The perennial shrub has a mound form and is semi-evergreen in the southern portions of its range.  Its name of 'tassel-white' refers to the white flowers that look like tassels. Bloom season is between April and June. Plant en masse as single plants are not as pretty.

Growing Guide

The Virginia sweetspire prefers to grow in partial shade with a moist acidic soil. If it has full sun for part of the day it has more vivid blooms and fall color. It does fine in areas that have drainage problems. Propagate by seeds and semi-hardwood cuttings. Semi-hardwood cuttings should be done in late summer or in early fall. Seed should be collected during those times as well. It will need no pretreatment prior to sowing into the ground. Water during a drought.


This native is found in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.  It is seen in the pine barrens, swamps, and stream banks.

Source: NPIN


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