Itea virginica 'Sarah Eve'
Common Name: Virginia sweetspire 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Iteaceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: White with pink pedicels
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Rain Garden
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Good Fall
Tolerate: Heavy Shade, Erosion, Clay Soil, Wet Soil


Easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Adaptable to shade, but fall color is best with more sun. Prefers moist, humusy, acidic soils, but tolerates a wide range of soil conditions. Can form dense colonies by root suckering if left unchecked. Prune as needed after flowering.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Itea virginica, commonly called Virginia sweetspire, is an erect, rounded, broad-spreading, deciduous shrub with arching branches. Typically grows 3-4' (less frequently to 5') tall with a similar spread. Features fragrant, tiny white flowers borne in cylindrical, drooping racemes (3-6" long) which cover the shrub with bloom in late spring to early summer. Oval, dark green leaves (1-4" long) turn varying shades of red, orange and gold in autumn. Long period of fall color, with leaves often persisting on the plants until early winter.

Genus name comes from the Greek word for willow in reference to the similarity of the leaves or flower clusters to those of some willows.

Specific epithet means of Virginia.

'Sarah Eve' was introduced by Woodlanders of Aiken, South Carolina. It was found in the wild in central Florida by Nancy Bissett of The Natives, Inc. and was named for her daughter. Its flowers are borne on the previous season’s wood and have white petals with pink pedicels, giving the appearance of a pink flower. It has dark green foliage with a purplish cast and grows 4 to 6 ft. tall and wide.


No serious insect or disease problems. Deer tend to avoid this plant.


A versatile shrub for sun and shade. Specimen, group or mass. Shrub borders, open woodland gardens, foundations or hedges. Mass for a shrubby ground cover effect. Naturalizes well in wild or informal areas. Also a good selection for wet locations such as low spots or pond/stream margins.