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Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Itea virginica L.
Virginia sweetspire, Tassel-white
USDA Symbol: ITVI
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
Virginia sweetspire is a mound-shaped, slender-branched, deciduous shrub to 8 ft. Small, white flowers bloom in 4 in. spires that droop with the arching branches. Flowers open from base to tip so that the plant appears to bloom for a long time. Leaves turn red to purple in fall and persist well into the winter. This plant is semi-evergreen in the southern part of its range.
The long tassels of white flowers and red fall foliage make this an attractive ornamental. Most effective in massed plantings, as single plants tend to be scraggly.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Shrub Leaf Retention: Deciduous Size Notes:
Normally 3 to 6 feet, but can reach 8 feet Leaf:
Green, red in autumn Autumn Foliage:
Flowers in 4 inch spires
Brown Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun
AL , AR , DC , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , KY , LA , MD , MO , MS , NC , NJ , OK , PA , SC , TN , TX , VA Native Distribution:
S. NJ to KY, s. IL, MO & OK, s. to FL & TX Native Habitat:
Wet, wooded stream banks; swamps; low pine barrens USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: High
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Moist, acid soils. Acid-based, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay
Conditions Comments: It blooms best and has better fall color if grown in an area that receives full sun at least part of the day. Can grow in swamps and other areas of poor drainage. Should be watered during droughts outside its natural habitat.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Understory, Erosion control, Showy, Fall conspicuous
Use Wildlife: Cover, Nectar-insects
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Seeds , Semi-hardwood Cuttings Description:
Seeds are very tiny and germinate best if sown thinly in flats in a greenhouse. Sweetspire grows best if kept in a container one year. Semi-hardwood cuttings taken in late summer or early fall will root. Seed Collection:
Collect seed in late summer or early fall. Remove from capsule
and store in sealed, refrigerated containers. Seed Treatment:
Seeds require no pretreatment. Commercially Avail:
Water during droughts.
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Recommended Species Lists
Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.
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Record Modified: 2011-06-17
Research By: TWC Staff