I Love Henry’s Garnet Virginia sweetspire, aka Itea virginica Henry’s Garnet.

Jul 7, 2023 | Love This!

Name:  Henry’s Garnet Virginia sweetspire, aka Itea virginica Henry’s Garnet.

Type of Plant:  Mounding shrub native to the Eastern USA  Hardy in Zones 5 to 9

Why I Love This Plant:  This is an easy to grow shrub that is useful in many locations. It will grow in sun or shade, and tolerates many types of soil, although it prefers garden soil to wet ground over dry sand.

I especially love Henry’s Garnet because it’s a bit shorter than the species and turns a beautiful burgundy color in the fall. Since this plant suckers to the sides, it’s especially useful on part-shade slopes or for fill-in plants in between taller shrubs such as Rhododendrons and holly.   

This is also a good plant for people who have a “wet spot” where they want something low and graceful to grow. Deer don’t seem to bother this shrub and it’s free of most insect and disease 

A Word to the Wise: If you, your spouse, or a landscaper tends to shear every shrub in the yard into a green meatball, this isn’t the plant for you. The beauty of this shrub is in the arching branches.

Itea can get some winter burn on the leaves – if in April or May you have stems that aren’t attractive, cut the entire stem down to the ground. The plant will grow new canes from the ground. That’s how to prune this plant as well: cut out all deadwood completely, then cut any stem that’s not attractive (or is growing where you don’t want it) right to the ground.

In June and early July this Itea is covered with white flowers that attract several species of pollinators. As you can see, this plant has an informal, spreading habit. Embrace this and you and your sweetspire will be happy! 

Who needs that invasive burning bush when you can have long-lasting, pink to burgundy fall color from Henry’s Garnet Itea?

This is how my Itea looked the first week in November. It turned its lovely fall color in October, and held that for six weeks before the foliage started falling.

The flowers on Henry’s Garnet come out in June on Cape Cod.




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