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Clethra acuminata

Cinnamonbark / Mountain Sweet Pepperbush

If you are trying to attract butterflies, hummingbirds, songbirds and beneficial insects, look no further. This adaptable, easy to grow shrub produces hanging stems of very fragrant, white flowers each summer. After the flowers bloom the birds will move in to dine on the seed. The golden fall foliage adds another season of interest, as does the cinnamon red exfoliating bark. This species is officially classified as endangered by Pennsylvania.

Benefits

  • Attracts hummingbirds, butterflies and pollinators
  • White flowers bloom on 3-8" stems, highly fragrant
  • Birds will gobble up the seed produced by the flowers
  • Golden fall color and cinnamon red exfoliating bark
  • Easy to grow and generally pest and disease free
  • Deer tend to leave this plant alone

Homeowner Growing and Maintenance Tips

Plant in moist, humus-rich, acid soil with good drainage. Water during droughts when the plant is young and getting established. It will tolerate shade but flowers better and grows faster in a sunny location.


Height
8-12 ft

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Spread
4-6 ft

USDA Hardiness Zone 5-8

Native Range

Found in wooded mountains, bluffs and ravines.

Native Trivia

Butterflies bask using their wings as solar collectors. After a cool night, their wing muscles must warm up before they can fly. Set out a rock or two where morning light will warm them so butterflies can take advantage of the early morning sun.

Good Companions
Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia), Squirt Compact Leucothoe (Leucothoe axillaris), Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides), Cinnamon Fern (Osmunda cinnamomea)

Characteristics & Attributes

Shade
Beneficial insects
Butterflies
Songbirds
Deer Resistant
Plan Sub Group
Medium to Tall Shrubs
Exposure
Filtered Shade
Morning Sun / Afternoon Shade
Soil
Acidic
Humus-rich
Well-drained
Wide soil tolerance
Soil Moisture Preference
Average
Dry
Moist
Moist but well-drained
Attracts Wildlife
Hummingbirds
Bloom Time
Late Spring / Early Summer
Summer
Habitat Collection
Butterfly
Native Habitat
Coastal
Grassland
Riparian, wetland
Foliage Color
Green
Uses
Border
Fragrant
Hedge, screen
Mass plant
Meadow
Naturalizes
Specimen
Native to
Alabama
Georgia
Kentucky
North Carolina
Pennsylvania
South Carolina
Tennessee
Virginia
West Virginia