Native Plant Trust

Clethra alnifolia 'Pink Spire'

Pink sweet-pepperbush

While the flowers look beautiful, the spicy, sweet scent of Clethra is its real draw for humans and a massive profusion of pollinating insects. Sweet pepper-bush is a widespread coastal and freshwater wetland plant, but it tolerates drought well once established, and its profusion of late summer blooms becomes a point of anticipation. Before the proliferation of lighthouses, many sailors knew this plant as "sailors' delight:" when the winds were right, they could often smell Clethra in bloom before they saw land. 'Pink Spire' is a cultivar introduced in 1906 and valued for its light pink flowers, which do not fade with time.

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Height: 3-8 ft
Spread: 4-6 ft

Characteristics & Attributes

Cultivation Status
Part Shade
Soil Moisture
Not Ecotypic in New England
Ornamental Interest
Summer Bloom
Attracts Wildlife
Host Plant
Attracts Bees
Attracts Butterflies
Other Pollinators/Wildlife
Drought Tolerant
Deer/Rabbit Resistant
Salt Tolerant
Additional Attributes
Erosion Control/Soil Stabilization
Low Maintenance

North American Distribution

Pink sweet-pepperbush - Clethra alnifolia 'Pink Spire' from Native Plant Trust
by Dan Jaffe (c) Native Plant Trust
Pink sweet-pepperbush - Clethra alnifolia 'Pink Spire' from Native Plant Trust