Why plant Audubon® Native Sweetshrub?
One day in mid-Spring, you’ll catch a whiff of that delightfully different, delicious scent and know it’s Sweetshrub season! This beloved American Accent makes its presence known each spring when it opens it unusual, fragrant, dark reddish-brown flowers. The scent is hard to describe and can vary from plant to plant. Sometimes it smells faintly fruity, other times it evokes ripe bananas and cantaloupe, applesauce, or pineapple upside-down cake. In any event, it’s a fine addition to your native plant garden! Sweetshrub’s dense, leafy stems provide good cover for songbirds and other small animals.
Sweetshrub is not on most people’s radar, but it is adored by native plant enthusiasts as well as by anyone who had one in their yard growing up. Some of our fondest memories are linked to pleasant scents! Like all old-fashioned, well-loved plants, it goes by several pet names, including Strawberry Shrub, Carolina Allspice, and Sweet Betty. Thomas Jefferson planted it at Monticello, and he called it by another nickname, “Bubby Flower.” Bubby Flower is native to woodland areas primarily in the Southeast, with the greatest concentrations in Alabama, Tennessee, North Georgia, and the Carolinas.
How to use Audubon® Native Sweetshrub in the landscape?
Botanically speaking, Sweetshrub is a rather primitive plant, related to Magnolias. These early versions of flowering plants evolved to be pollinated by beetles, not bees. Beetle pollination is less effective than bee pollination, but when successful, Sweetshrub will produce a smattering of odd, sac-shaped receptacles containing large, coffee-brown seeds.
Hardiness Zone: 4-9
How To Plant Audubon® Native Sweetshrub
In the wild, Sweetshrub can be found growing in deep shade, but its habit can become rangy there. It is much neater when given only light shade and moist, well-drained soil. Water regularly during dry spells. This is an easygoing plant that doesn’t need a lot of attention. No major insect pests or diseases trouble it, and deer tend to leave it alone. Pruning can be accomplished in summer, just after flowering winds down, if necessary—though it probably won’t be needed. Sweetshrub looks best when allowed to grow naturally and is not sheared or shaped.
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.