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Calycanthus floridus
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

Carolina allspice

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.

Other common names
strawberry shrub
Synonyms
Calycanthus sterilis

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Size
Ultimate height
2.5–4 metres
Time to ultimate height
5–10 years
Ultimate spread
2.5–4 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained, Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green
Summer Red Green
Autumn Gold Yellow
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
Aspect

North–facing or South–facing or East–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H4
Botanical details
Family
Calycanthaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Bushy, Columnar upright
Potentially harmful
All parts highly toxic if ingested
Genus

Calycanthus are deciduous shrubs with simple, aromatic leaves and solitary, fragrant flowers in summer

Name status

Correct

Plant range
SE USA

How to grow

Cultivation

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.

Propagation

Propagate by softwood cuttings

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Architectural
  • City and courtyard gardens
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Wildlife gardens
  • Flower borders and beds
  • Wall side borders
Pruning

Prune immediately after flowering to shape and maintain size. Remove root suckers promptly. Tends to form colonies in the wild.

Pests

Generally pest-free. Tolerates deer

Diseases

Generally disease-free

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