Host: Gary Bachman, Ornamental Horticulture Specialist
Virginia sweetspire is versatile, beautiful, AND low maintenance today on Southern Gardening.
Virginia sweetspire may be perfect for the shrub border or woodland setting. In fact, it was selected as a Mississippi Medallion winner for 2011. Virginia Sweetspire, known botanically as Itea virginica. This Mississippi native shrub is erect and densely branched when grown in full sun and will grow from three to four feet tall and four to six feet wide. Prune only to keep the plant neat and tidy. Plant in shrub borders or foundation plantings as the foliage will form a dense barrier. The foliage is dark green and changes to a brilliant red fall color. In the coastal counties Virginia sweetspire will hold onto its gorgeous red foliage well into the winter months depending on frosts and freezes. The flowers are produced in groups on drooping spikes up to six inches long. There are no serious pest or diseases which makes Virginia sweetspire a wonderful low maintenance plant. Also this is a good choice for deer proofing your landscape if they are a problem. Virginia sweetspire is tolerant of wet soil, but you should always plant in the landscape in amended soil with good drainage for the optimum growth. Fertilize using a slow release product formulated for trees and shrubs in both the spring and fall. Virginia Sweet spire is a good choice for naturalizing and transplants well. This plant can have a clumping growth habit and suckers from the roots. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.