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Sweetshrub is a favorite native plant; the flowers being unlike no other. Variety purpureus is special due to leaf backs maturing rich purple.
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.
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
sweetshrub, Carolina allspice
Calycanthus floridus var. floridus, 'Purpureus'
USDA Hardiness Zones
flowering shrub, deciduous
Spring: dark green, purple
Summer: dark green, purple
Fall Leaf Color Quality
Native to USA?
Soil Moisture Requirements
average garden soil, moist-but-draining, no standing water
Soil pH Requirements
acid, neutral, alkaline
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.
Do the flowers smell? Sometimes I've notice that 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!