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Sweet Sweetshrub

Have you ever walked the Gardens at Wellfield and seen some plants you couldn’t identify? We always have some of our “plants of interest” highlighted on the television in the Visitors Cottage gift shop, so you may be able to identify it by taking a look at that. But, you can also email us a photo at to ask. Recently, we received one such email, and I thought I’d address it today. The picture is shown above.

This shrub, which can be found blooming in the Sensory Garden and on the West Promenade this time of year, is called Calycanthus floridus, or sweetshrub, or Carolina allspice. Of course, this should not be confused with spicebush, summer sweet or sweetspire. All are excellent aromatic and/or pollinator-attracting native shrubs.

The sweetshrub’s tropical looking flowers and early morning scent make this species a winner in my book. The flowers, leaves and stem all carry a lovely scent. It is a moderate sized shrub which tops out around 8’ by 8’, but it can be easily clipped back if necessary. I would place it in full sun at this latitude in most landscapes and near a path or front door where flowers can be sniffed easily. Wellfield has two varieties: ‘Aphrodite andAthens. We hope you find and enjoy them on your next visit to Wellfield.

Josh Steffen, Horticulture and Facilities Manager

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