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Itea

Sweetspire
Escalloniaceae
Deciduous, Evergreen, Shrubs

Only a few of the ten or so species are seen in gardens. One feature these shrubs have in common is small, scented flowers in long, narrow, tightly packed clusters. Little pruning is required.

Itea virginica ‘Scarlet Beauty’ (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)
Itea virginica ‘Scarlet Beauty’ (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)

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Itea virginica

Native to the eastern United States. Grows to 3–15 ft. tall, spreading by suckers to form large patches where well adapted. Narrow, oval, 4-in.-long, dark green leaves turn purplish or bright red in fall, hang on the plant for a long time, possibly all winter. Fragrant, creamy white summer flowers in erect clusters to 6 in. long.

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