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Which Clethra?

Posted by marcindy z5b (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 15, 10 at 15:14

I am trying to narrow the choices down for two different situations. One is on westside of my house, between a soon to be planted silverbell tree (Halesia) and a Japanese Maple (Yasemin), distance about ten feet. The site is almost full sun, and is bordered by a tall hedge of bridal spireas, which we inherited with the house and keep pruned to about 6 feet tall. The sweetshrubs would form a second layer in front to that hedge, so I am looking at something that doesn't exceed a height of 4 feet or so. I envision it as a really low maintenance section of my yard that entices you to stroll by in the summer and enjoy the scent. The flowers can either be white or pinkish red, either one would work there.

The second situation is in partial shade to shade under a canopy of high white pines. I want to use a white flowering clethra as a backdrop for a small white statue. The statue (same as the one from "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil? stands at the end of an axis through my yard, very visible from our house. Right now you kind of look past the statue and through the pine tree trunks. I want to create a semi-circular hedge of about 6ft height to focus your eye on the statue. Which variety would work best in that partial shade situation?

Thanks in advance for your help and suggestions.


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RE: Which Clethra?

  • Posted by whaas 5a Milwaukee (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 15, 10 at 20:55

Clethra alnifolia will work in both appliations, the one in full sun may require supplemental moisture.

'Sixteen Candles' and 'Hummingbird' are more compact rounded selections. 'Ruby Spice' would be a medium size plant and 'Pink Spires', along with the species would get closer to or exceed the 6' mark.

Remember Clethra is very late to leaf out.


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RE: Which Clethra?

  • Posted by leafy02 6 Central Kentucky (My Page) on
    Sat, Apr 17, 10 at 17:25

I think especially in the statue background, you'll want to take the lateness of leafing out into consideration.

I have two of the smaller Clethra in front of my house, full sun from morning until afternoon, and they are just now getting a few leaves. The larger Clethra (I think it is Ruby Spice but can't swear to it) I have in the back yard in a less sunny spot only has leaf buds, no leaves yet, while my bridal spireas are blooming and my hydrangeas have lots of big leaves.


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