Calycanthus floridus is also known as the spicebush. It is a dense, spreading, bushy and sometimes suckering deciduous specimen shrub, bearing oblong to oval dark green to yellow leaves with hairy undersides. Dark brownish-red calyx-like strappy-petalled very fragrant flowers are borne at the ends of short branchlets in May. The fragrance is described as combining hints of pineapple, strawberry and banana. Urn-shaped fruit capsules follow flowers and persist throughout the winter.
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Ultimate height2.5–4 metres
Time to ultimate height5–10 years
Ultimate spread2.5–4 metres
MoistureMoist but well–drained, Well–drained
pHAcid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
- Full sun
- Partial shade
North–facing or South–facing or East–facing or West–facing
- Native to the UK
- Bushy, Columnar upright
- Potentially harmful
- All parts highly toxic if ingested
Calycanthus are deciduous shrubs with simple, aromatic leaves and solitary, fragrant flowers in summer
- Name status
- Plant range
- SE USA
How to grow
Prefers moderately fertile, humus-rich, moist but well-drained soil in partial shade where it grows taller, but tolerates a wide range of soil conditions and some sun. Shelter from cold, drying winds. Autumn colour is better in its native habitat.
Propagate by softwood cuttings
Suggested planting locations and garden types
- City and courtyard gardens
- Cottage and informal garden
- Wildlife gardens
- Flower borders and beds
- Wall side borders
Prune immediately after flowering to shape and maintain size. Remove root suckers promptly. Tends to form colonies in the wild.
Generally pest-free. Tolerates deer
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