Plant, Tree & Shrub Library

Sugartina Clethra

Clethra alnifolia 'Crystalina'

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Sugartina Clethra (Clethra alnifolia 'Crystalina') at Bachman's Landscaping

Sugartina Clethra flowers

Sugartina Clethra flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  3 feet

Spread:  30 inches

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade 

Hardiness Zone:  4

Other Names:  Sweet Pepperbush, Summersweet


This highly fragrant dwarf variety features spikes of sweet smelling white flowers in late summer when little else is blooming; a small dense habit of growth and good fall color; REQUIRES ACIDIC SOIL, that is moist but well drained.

Ornamental Features

Sugartina Clethra has masses of beautiful spikes of fragrant white flowers rising above the foliage from late summer to early fall, which are most effective when planted in groupings. It has dark green foliage throughout the season. The glossy round leaves turn an outstanding yellow in the fall. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Sugartina Clethra is a multi-stemmed deciduous shrub with a shapely oval form. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.

This shrub will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and is best pruned in late winter once the threat of extreme cold has passed. It is a good choice for attracting bees and butterflies to your yard. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Suckering

Sugartina Clethra is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • General Garden Use
  • Naturalizing And Woodland Gardens

Planting & Growing

Sugartina Clethra will grow to be about 30 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 30 inches. It tends to fill out right to the ground and therefore doesn't necessarily require facer plants in front. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 30 years.

This shrub does best in full sun to partial shade. It is quite adaptable, prefering to grow in average to wet conditions, and will even tolerate some standing water. It is not particular as to soil type, but has a definite preference for acidic soils, and is able to handle environmental salt. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This is a selection of a native North American species.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight Soil pH Preference
Massing  Garden  Naturalizing 
Flowers  Fall Color  Winter Value  Attracts Wildlife 
Ornamental Features