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Sale Purple sweetshrub

Calycanthus floridus var. purpureus (sweetshrub)

Next available Monday or Tuesday

Unavailable Available Only few left Out of Stock Pre-order

Sweetshrub or Carolina allspice is a favorite native plant; the flowers being like no other. The petals on these flowers are actually tepals. Another famous example of a tepal is the "petals" on Magnolia flowers.

Variety purpureus is extra special due to rich purple color of the backsides of leaves, maturing leaves especially (i.e., not the new growth).

On Calycanthus floridus variety purpureus, the leaf uppersides are darker green than the species and other types. We like it for that reason too - the color variation amongst the different sweetshrubs in our collection adds interest to our woodland garden.

The flowers on this purple leaf variety are the typical burgundy of most other types, but it's those purple leaf undersides that make this unique.

We do like purple here at the nursery (see the purple on our pages?), so we're predictably drawn to the purple backsides of this sweetshrub variety.

Fall color, as on most Calycanthus, can be a quite lovely yellow, golden yellow, or burnt yellow.

Back to the flowers, they smell exactly like very ripe bananas; the kind so ripe they make the best banana bread.

A hybrid relative is Calycanthus x raulstonii 'Hartlage Wine' and a native relative is 'Athens' sweetshrub.

  • the purple backsides of the leave provide a little extra color and conversational interest for your garden tourists
  • if you've got a lot of shade on your hands, this is a good plant for you - it loves dappled shade or afternoon shade
  • over time, it will start to colonize an area via underground runners - we like colonizers becuase they do the work of filling in blank spaces
fragrant flowers, colorful foliage, colinizer
Common Name
Purple-leaved Carolina allspice, Raulston allspice, strawberry shrub, sweetshrub, bubby bush, bubby blossom, sweet bubby, sweet bettie, spicebush
Other Names
Calycanthus floridus var. floridus, 'Purpureus'
USDA Hardiness Zones
flowering shrub, deciduous
Growth Rate
Flower Color
Showy Flower?
Flower Season
Leaf Colors
  • Spring: dark green, purple
  • Summer: dark green, purple
  • Fall: yellow
Fall Leaf Color Quality
Native to USA?
Native To
Eastern US
Soil Moisture Requirements
average garden soil, moist-but-draining, no standing water
Soil pH Requirements
acid, neutral, alkaline
Light Requirements
full sun, part shade, full shade
To Make It Thrive
In the Deep South, Calycanthus loves growing in dappled shade or in a location where it receives morning sun, but shade all afternoon. For this shady reason, it's a good partner for a hydrnagea garden. Further north, it can tolerate more sun and in the sun it doesn't grow quite as tall. It prefers a rich, loamy soil (a woodland soil). Calycanthus will thrive and colonize in the situations herein described.
Plant Patent
Do the flowers smell? I've noticed not all Calycanthus flowers have that lovely melon-like frangrance.
You are correct, if you want a sweet-smelling sweetshrub, you must buy a named cultivar that's known to have those sweet rewards or make sure you purchase a seedling when in flower, to smell it and make sure it's fragrant. You caught me here though, I forgot to notice on our lone 5' tall shrub if the flowers were fragrant or not! Anybody want to chime in with a review about flower fragrance? It would help us to know!

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