Clethra alnifolia 'HUMMINGBIRD'

Clethra alnifolia
Clethra alnifolia 'HUMMINGBIRD'
summersweet, sweet pepper bush
SIZE/TYPE small shrub
 medium-sized shrub
USUAL WIDTH 0.5-1.3m
LEAVES deciduous broadleaf
BLOOMING TIME August - September
LOCATION full to partial sun
SOIL TYPE acidic (peaty) to neutral
SOIL MOISTURE REQUIREMENTS tolerates (but does not demand) wet ground
USDA zone (lowest) 4   (down to -34°C)
FOR ZONE 5+6 Code of winter protection zone 5+6
FOR ZONE 7 Code of winter protection zone 7
BELONGS TO CATEGORIES Deciduous broadleaf
Summer blooms
náhled fotonáhled fotonáhled foto
Sweet pepper bush is a deciduous shrub from North America. It belongs to a family of its own name clethraceae with only two genera: clethra and purdiaea. Its natural habitat spreads from Nova Scotia to Florida and Texas. It is cultivated mostly for its strongly fragrant flowers in midsummer. Apart from the species growing up to 3m tall there are several varieties of shorter or even dwarf habit.

Hummingbird is a cute name for a cute and truly dwarf sweet pepper bush variety. From late July it produces a profusion of rather short, spike-like, erect racemes composed of creamy white, sweetly scented flowers. They last for 2-3 weeks but a well-established shrub may produce 2 or 3 flushes of flowers to continue blooming until early September.

Oval leaves are deciduous, mid to dark green, 4-5 cm long, finely serrated, and very glossy. They cover the plant completely to make it look great even when not in bloom. For dense foliage it does not like being shaded by other, smaller companion plants placed too close. Hummingbird is a compact and short-growing variety which does not require pruning to remain small. Yet, you can try to shape it a bit in early spring to see how even more compact and lush it can get. It was awarded AGM (Award of Garden Merit) by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) in England in 2017.

Grow it in neutral to acidic, fertile, humus-rich, moist or wet soil in full sun or partial shade (preferred). It tolerates wet and heavy clay soil but hates drought. Fully hardy to about -34°C or more (USDA zone 4) and suitable for planters only with good irrigation.

Last update 20-09-2022
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Clethra alnifolia height 40-60 cm
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Clethra alnifolia
Clethra alnifolia
Prunus laurocerasus
  • STANDARD QUALITY - Plants of this group are 1st class quality with number of branches and overall density adequate to their size and age, considering they were container grown.
  • DE LUXE QUALITY - This label guarantees a luxurious quality of manually selected plants that, compared to their height and age, are exceptionally dense and beautiful.
  • EXTRA - These plants are usually mature and bigger specimens with exceptional overall appearance.
  • STANDARD (as described in the plant form) means a tree with a trunk of 190-210 cm and a crown at the top, unless specified differently. The commercial size for trees is their girth measured in the height of 1m from ground.
  • HOBBY - These plants are of the same quality as our standard-quality plants but younger and therefore cheaper.
  • SHRUB - a woody plant with branches growing bushy from the ground level.
  • HALF-STANDARD or MINI-STANDARD - a small tree with shorter trunk, its size is usually specified.
  • FEATHERED - These are trees with branches growing already from the base of the trunk and up along the stem.
  • GRASSES and PERENNIALS - Sizes given usually read the diameter of the pot or the clump, as specified.
LARGE PLANTS over 150 cmspecimens, screening and hedging shrubs

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