Clethra pringlei

Common Name: clethra 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Clethraceae
Native Range: Mexico
Zone: 8 to 10
Height: 8.00 to 12.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 7.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 8-10 (perhaps protected locations in Zone 7) in consistently moist soils in full sun to part shade. Best in light shade. Reportedly performs well in sun-dappled conditions under large trees. Will survive occasional temperature drops into the low teens in winter but will lose some lower leaves.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Clethra pringlei, commonly called Mexican clethra, is an evergreen shrub to 8-12’ tall that sometimes rises as a small tree to 20’ tall. It is native to Mexico. Elliptic leaves have marginal teeth near the terminal end. Long racemes of fragrant white flowers with a cinnamon-like aroma bloom from the stem tips between June and August.

Genus name comes from the Greek klethra the name for alder of which the leaves resemble.

Specific epithet honors Cyrus Gurnsey Pringle (1838-1911), American botanist who spent most of his efforts from 1884 until his death collecting plants in Mexico.


No known serious insect or disease problems.


Interesting shrub which can be grown as lawn specimen, along foundations, or in shrub borders. Informal hedge. Plant near a patio to enjoy the late summer bloom.