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CALYCANTHUS floridus 'Athens'

Image of Calycanthus floridus 'Athens'

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Calycanthaceae

Botanical Name

CALYCANTHUS floridus 'Athens'

Plant Common Name

Athens Sweetshrub, Sweetshrub

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Late spring's fruit-and spice-scented, greenish yellow flowers makes 'Athens' a terrific selection of Carolina allspice for the garden. A rounded and spreading deciduous shrub, it is native to the extreme southeastern United States, from Virginia to Florida. Its foliage is pretty, oval with a gracefully and elegantly pointed tip, and semi-glossy green to dark green with a lighter gray-green underside. As the leaves begin to emerge in spring, the flowers appear on short stems. They open a sheepishly green-yellow and mature more yellow, and look like a stumpy, multi-legged octopus. Wonderfully fragrant, the scent is like a combination of a warm, sweet fruit salad, some say distinctly of strawberries. Pollinated flowers become urn-shaped brown capsules that are also fragrant if broken. In autumn the leaves turn yellow.

Plant yellow Carolina allspice in any humusy soil that has good drainage, in partial sun or partial shade. It is tolerant of deeper shade and drier soils, but will not grow as robustly or flower as heavily as a gardener would hope. It is lovely as part of a mixed shrub border or foundation planting, and should be located near a patio or walkway so the floral fragrance can be noted. Prune for shape only after flowering ends in midsummer. Make sure to select shrubs when in bloom at the nursery to ensure the specimen has a fragrance that is most appealing.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    5 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    6'-10' / 1.8m - 3.0m

  • Width

    6'-12' / 1.8m - 3.7m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    United States, Southeastern United States

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Spreading

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow, Light Yellow, Yellow Green

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow, Yellow Green

  • Bark Color

    Brown, Chocolate

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    Yes

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Semi-Double

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border, Screening / Wind Break

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes