Clethra alnifolia

Sweet pepper bush

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Key information

Plant type

Deciduous shrub

Flower colour



Autumn colour, Flowers, Fruit



Skill level


photo by Adrian Bloom, copyright GAP Photos (32721)

Plant details

A handsome shrub from eastern USA, ideal for acid soils in wild gardens or near water. Slow-growing at first, it later develops into a solid thicket as suckers are produced from below ground, and these need thinning for time to time alternatively dense thickets can be dug up and divided like herbaceous plants for transferring to new sites. Plants are noted for the fragrance of their late summer flowers, which are small but numerous in long racemes at the ends of shoots. In autumn the foliage turns bright yellow.

Family: Clethraceae

Genus: Clethra

Species: alnifolia

Plant type: Deciduous shrub

Flower colour: White

Foliage colour: Mid-green

Feature: Autumn colour, Flowers, Fruit

Sun exposure: Partial shade, Shade

Soil: Well-drained/light, Clay/heavy, Acidic

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Experienced

Height: 250cm

Spread: 250cm

Time to plant seeds: September to May

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