Clethra alnifolia

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Sweet Pepperbush


Plant Specifics

Size:3-10 ft tall by 2-5 ft wide
Life Span:Long-lived perennial
Flower Color:White
Fruit Color:Brown
Phenology:Deciduous. Blooms in spring. Moderately long-lived (Nelson 2003).
Noted for:Aroma, fragrance, Showy flowers


Recommended Uses:Hedges, back borders. Blooms in summer.
Propagation:Seed, division or softwood cuttings
Availability:Native nurseries, Quality nurseries
Light: Full Sun,  Part Shade
Moisture Tolerance:
always floodedextremely dry
 (Stays Wet ----- to ----- Not wet but not extremely dry)
Moisture Tolerance: Stays Wet ----- to ----- Not wet but not extremely dry
Salt Water Flooding Tolerance:Tolerant of occasional/brief inundation such as can occur in storm surges.
Salt Spray/ Salty Soil Tolerance:High. Can tolerate significant and ongoing amounts of salty wind and salt spray without injury.
Soil or other substrate:-
Soil pH:Acidic



Attracts hummingbirds.

Birds and other small wildlife consume the seed (


Attracts butterflies and bees which have evolved to take advantage of narrow, tubular flowers. 

Native Habitats:Moist-wet areas, acid soils. Wet flatwoods, savannas, swamps, stream banks, bogs, other wet areas.

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range in Florida
USDA Zones

Suitable to grow in:
8A 8B 9A 9B 

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures


General Comments:The herbarium specimen from Polk County almost certainly has a wrong location.  Lithia is in Hillsborough County and the most likely translation of a wrongly written latitude and longitude is also in Hillsborough County -- but the exact location would have been agricultural in 1962.