Why plant Audubon® Native Spicebush?
From spring through fall, Spicebush will be a delight for you and for the wildlife you share your outdoor space with. March and April bring dainty yellow flowers pollinated by the earliest-emerging bees. Summer brings caterpillars, such as those that become the gorgeous Spicebush swallowtail butterfly. And fall brings glossy red berries loved by songbirds, such as robins, Wood Thrushes, vireos, flycatchers, catbirds, and kingbirds. The Veery, which doesn’t visit birdfeeders, is a huge fan of the fruit, and planting Spicebush is probably the best thing you can do to lure this cautious bird into your garden.
Spicebush is a common understory plant in most of the eastern United States, from Maine to Florida and west to Michigan and Texas. Not coincidentally, this is where you’ll also find the dazzling Spicebush swallowtail butterfly. Its caterpillars are adorable. At first, they disguise themselves as inedible bird droppings. Later, they look like tiny snakes. You’ll spot them hiding in Spicebush leaves; they fold the edge over to make a little sleeping bag. Birds have apparently figured out this game, because you’ll often see wedge-shaped bite marks in the leaves with folds.
How to use Audubon® Native Spicebush in the landscape?
Autumn glory, too! Spicebush is radiant in fall when the pea-green leaves become a brilliant, clear yellow. It will light up the garden and direct birds to the ripe berries.
Hardiness Zone: 4-9
How To Plant Audubon® Native Spicebush
A forest-dweller by nature, Spicebush is happiest with just a few hours of direct sun each day. A site in dappled shade throughout the day is also great. Consistently moist soil will encourage the lushest foliage and fastest growth. Spicebush is typically a dioecious plant, which means that male and female flowers appear on separate plants. Fruit will only form on females, and only if a male is nearby for pollination. For the best chance of having tons of fruit for the birds, plant several specimens! You can never have too many Spicebushes.
How To Fertilize
Incorporate Elements Starter Plant food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer, start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant food granular form on an annual basis each late fall. Continue this for the first three years to get your plant well established.