Idica Virginica (Virginia Sweetspire)
Planting Zones 5-9
Virginia Sweetspire is one of my favorite native shrubs. It is a 3-5′ deciduous shrub and it flowers in late spring/early summer. Sweetspire has a white flower raceme with a slight fragrance. The plants are best known for their wonderful fall foliage, which puts on quiet a show. And even in the winter months when sweetpsire has lost all of its leaves the arching limbs can be striking.
Sweetpire is an excellent landscape choice because it has no major disease or pest problems and once established it can handle dry conditions. If you are looking for an example of its use in the lanscape check out the landscape at your nearest Bass Pro Shop where you are sure to find it incorporated in the design.
One drawback in some situations can be the many suckers it will put out as it colonizes an area; however, for some landscape uses this is an excellent feature. One of those uses is naturalizing in moist areas. Sweetspire also makes a good foundation planting, and a good mass planting.
There are several cultivars that you will often see in garden centers: “Merlot,” “Little Henry,” and “Henry’s Garnet.”
Great paired with other indigenous plants.
It is important to note when pruning that blooms occur on old wood.