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Clethra barbinervis
  • RHS AGM

Japanese clethra

A deciduous large shrub with attractive bark and obovate leaves to 12cm in length, turning red and orange in autumn. Small fragrant white flowers are borne in clustered racemes in late summer and autumn

Synonyms
Clethra canescens misapplied
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Size
Ultimate height
1.5–2.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
10–20 years
Ultimate spread
1.5–2.5 metres
Growing conditions
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained
pH
Acid
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Brown Orange Green
Summer Brown Orange White Green
Autumn Brown Orange White Orange Red
Winter Brown Orange
Position
  • Full shade
  • Partial shade
Aspect

East–facing or North–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H5
Botanical details
Family
Clethraceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Bushy
Genus

Clethra can be deciduous or evergreen trees or shrubs, sometimes with attractive bark, with simple leaves and small, fragrant, usually white, bell-shaped flowers in racemes or panicles

Name status

Correct

Plant range
E China to Japan

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How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in fertile humus-rich moist but well-drained acid soil, best in part or dappled shade

Propagation

Propagate by seed or softwood cuttings

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Low Maintenance
  • Flower borders and beds
Pruning

Pruning group 2

Pests

Generally pest free

Diseases

Generally disease free

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