Plants for Summer: Flowers & Shrubs


Clethra alnifolia

Common name: Sweet Pepperbush
Zones of hardiness: 4 to
Height & width: 4-8’ (12’) high and 4 -6’ (10’) wide
Leaves: obovate-oblong, 1 ½” to 4” long, ¾ to 2” wide, alternate and simple, medium to deep green color in the summer
Origin: North America

The Clethra alnifolia shrub is a ‘perfect flower’, which translates as to having both male (stamen) and female (pistil) reproductive structures. The form of the flower, where from a distance resembles a caterpillar, is upright, opening from the base. Depending on the zone, the blooms occur in June, July and August and last for 4 to 6 weeks. The fragrance of Clethra alnifolia may attract pollinators like bees but is on the other hand, virtually pest-free except for rare occasions of mite damage which may occur in drier seasons. Plenty of moisture is required in hotter, drier areas. With the advantage of spread and beauty, Clethra alnifolia is a solid choice for hedging and bordering.