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Clethra alnifolia 'Ruby Spice'

Ruby Spice Summer Sweet

Ruby Spice is a color break through with the darkest red flower color of all the summer sweets. The flowers bloom for many weeks in late summer attracting hummingbirds and butterflies. The seed that’s produced later provides food for songbirds and other wildlife. The cool days of autumn bring on the golden yellow fall color. This is an easy to grow, pest and disease resistant shrub with multi-season interest. It grows best in moist, slightly acid sandy soil in sun to light shade, though as a hardy native shrub, it tolerates a range of conditions including shade, acidic wet soil, and salt spray. The color is best in sun. 1998 Gold Medal Plant Award by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. Selected by Andy Brand, Broken Arrow Nursery, Connecticut

Benefits

  • Attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds
  • Many birds and mammals eat the fruit
  • Produces loads of fragrant, rosy blooms in late summer
  • Bright, golden yellow fall color
  • Tolerates shade, acidic wet soil, and salt spray
  • Easy to grow, deer resistant

Homeowner Growing and Maintenance Tips

It grows best in moist, slightly acid sandy soil in sun to light shade, though as a hardy native shrub, it tolerates a range of conditions including shade, acidic wet soil, and salt spray. The color is best in sun.


Height
4-6 ft

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Spread
4 ft

USDA Hardiness Zone 4-9

Native Range

Found in swamps, sea shores, stream banks and hillside bogs.

Native Trivia

Remarkably, frogs actually use their eyes to help them swallow food. When the frog blinks, its eyeballs are pushed downwards creating a bulge in the roof of its mouth. This bulge squeezes the food inside the frog's mouth down the back of its throat.

Good Companions
Swamp Azalea (Rhododendron viscosum), Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis), Orange Coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida)

Characteristics & Attributes

Sun
Beneficial insects
Butterflies
Songbirds
Deer Resistant
Wet Sun
Ground cover
Plan Sub Group
Medium to Tall Shrubs
Exposure
Filtered Shade
Morning Sun / Afternoon Shade
Soil
Acidic
Humus-rich
Wide soil tolerance
Soil Moisture Preference
Average
Moist
Moist but well-drained
Wet
Attracts Wildlife
Amphibians
Hummingbirds
Mammals
Bloom Time
Late Summer
Habitat Collection
Butterfly
Songbird
Native Habitat
Coastal
Riparian, wetland
Foliage Color
Dark Green
Uses
Accent
Bog, water garden
Border
Erosion control
Fragrant
Hedge, screen
Mass plant
Meadow
Naturalizes
Salt tolerant
Specimen
Native to
Alabama
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Mississippi
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New York
North Carolina
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
Tennessee
Texas
Virginia