Calycanthus floridus
Common Name: Carolina allspice
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Calycanthaceae
Native Range: Southeastern United States
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 12.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to July
Bloom Description: Brown
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Fragrant, Good Cut
Tolerate: Deer, Clay Soil

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Grows somewhat taller in shade than in sun. Tolerant of a wide range of soils, but prefers rich loams. Prune immediately after flowering to shape or maintain compactness. Tends to sucker and often forms colonies in the wild. Remove root suckers promptly if naturalization is not desired.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Carolina allspice is a dense, rounded deciduous shrub with a suckering habit which grows 6-9' (less frequently to 12') tall with an equal or slightly greater spread. Features very fragrant, brown to reddish-brown flowers (2" across) which bloom at the ends of short branchlets in May. Flowers give way to brownish, urn-shaped fruits (seed capsules) which mature in fall and persist throughout the winter. Lustrous, dark green (pale beneath), ovate to elliptic leaves to 6" long turn golden yellow in fall. Leaves are aromatic when bruised. Best to purchase this plant when in flower because the quality and intensity of the fragrance can vary widely from plant to plant. Also commonly called sweetshrub and strawberry bush in reference to the fragrant blooms which have been described as combining hints of pineapple, strawberry and banana. Further common name of hairy allspice is in reference to the hairy twigs and leaf undersides of this plant. U.S. native from Virginia to Florida.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Specimen near front door, patio or other living areas where the fragrant flower aroma may be enjoyed. Shrub borders. Foundations. Native plant areas.