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Native Plants Series: Virginia Sweetspire

Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica) is a flowering shrub native to the Eastern and Southern US. It blooms in long white racemes in late spring or early summer.

The leaves turn shades of red, orange, and yellow in fall, making it a great replacement for the invasive burning bush. They prefer medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade - full shade is tolerated, but with less blooms and duller fall color. They can form a dense colony, making it a great option for a hedge or screen, but may need to be kept in check by root pruning where you don't want it to spread too far. Sweetspire is also a good choice for wet locations.

You are most likely to find a cultivar in garden centers which have been bred for smaller size, more intense fall color, and more blooms.

Photo with thanks: @laura_ogar on IG

Sources: Misouri Botanical Garden, USDA Native Plants Database

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