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Sale New Itea virginica 'Henry's Garnet' (Virginia sweetspire)

Itea virginica 'Henry's Garnet' (Virginia sweetspire)

$19.00
Next available Monday or Tuesday

Unavailable Available Only few left Out of Stock Pre-order
Deciduous shrub

Henry's Garnet Virginia sweetspire is one of my favorite "naturalistic" shrubs because it has multi-season interest and wears well in innumerable garden styles.

In spring, the 6" long, white pendulous flowers dangle all over the shrub like a designer who loves tassels and fringe. Then it looks well-dressed all summer with arching branches and green leaves; wrapping it up with outstanding burgundy attire in the autumn.

Have you noticed that the winter-bare arching red stems add winter interest? I have and used that feature to advantage. At my old house in town, I planted Henry's Garnet right next to a yellow-painted curb - this sweetspire colonized the area and the red stems popped out against that yellow, the pine-straw, and the dwarf evergreen backdrop. (I did add loads of compost to that curb-side bed, so this woodland/waterway native was, indeed, very happy with the soils.)

Regarding gardens uses, its fits in as well in a naturalistic shrub/woods setting, or along a body of water, or dotted along a dry creek bed, as it does when colonizing a modern suburban home or a grand sweeping estate yard, as it fit in colonizing my curbside downtown. Which is to say, very well.

We do like a good awards ceremony, so here's a badge on Henry Garnet's chest: it received a Gold Medal from the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society

  • preference is for moist soils so this is a great plant for low spots, ditches, next to ornamental ponds and bogs, downspouts, and for stabilizing runoff areas
  • a native colonizer that will gently fill in an area
colonizer, fragrant flowers, pollinator plant
Common Name
Henry's Garnet Virginia sweetspire, Virginia-willow
Other Names
n/a
USDA Hardiness Zones
5a-9b
Size
small
Class
flowering shrub, deciduous
Shape
round
Height
3-4'
Width
4-5'
Growth Rate
average
Flower Color
white
Showy Flower?
yes
Flower Season
spring
Leaf Colors
  • Spring: green
  • Summer: medium green
  • Fall: burgundy
Fall Leaf Color Quality
good
Native to USA?
yes
Native To
Eastern US
Soil Moisture Requirements
average garden, moist or wet soils (it grows streamside in the wild)
Soil pH Requirements
acid to neutral
Light Requirements
sun, part shade, shade
To Make It Thrive
Sweetspires prefer acid soils; avoid high pH (alkaline) conditions or chlorosis and general decline will cause you disappointment. This species prefers moist/wet soils, however, Henry's Garnet is more drought tolerant than expected - it is commonly planted in neighborhoods with compacted soils. However, it will do better with with supplemental irrigation. In modern landscapes, with these back-filled soils that are low in organic matter, work compost into the soils and your Henry's Garnet will be happier. Be especially sure to mulch it to help keep the soil moist.
Plant Patent
n/a
My shrub has turned yellow, what's wrong?
Run a soil test and to determine if the soil is too alkaline (high pH). Chlorosis develops in alkaline soils. Correct the pH using an acidifying product from your local garden center. Fertilize it at the same time with a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10. This problem can be corrected, but you may want to run a soil test and act accordingly (fertilize) for a few years to keep on top of it.

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