Common Name: Virginia sweetspire 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Iteaceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to July
Bloom Description: White


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.

'SMNIVDFC' SCENTLANDIA is a dwarf cultivar of Virginia sweetspire that features fragrant blooms, excellent fall color, and a compact, rounded habit. Plants will reach up to 3' tall with an equal spread. The inflorescences (around 2.75" long) are made up of small, fragrant, white flowers and bloom in late spring through early summer on the terminal ends of the branches. Attractive to butterflies and other insect pollinators. In the fall the foliage consistently turns shades of bright oranges and reds. This plant is protected by patent number PP30233.


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.