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CLETHRA tomentosa

Image of Clethra tomentosa

Jesse Saylor

Family

Clethraceae

Botanical Name

CLETHRA tomentosa

Plant Common Name

Downy Clethra, Wooley White Alder

Special Notice

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

General Description

With lightly fuzzy leaves, upright habit, and fuzzy spikes of fragrant flowers later than other pepperbushes (Clethra spp.), wooley white alder is a small suckering deciduous shrub. It hails from the moist or swampy woods in the southeastern United States from North Carolina to Florida and Alabama. Appearing around the autumnal equinox, the spice-scented white flowers attract butterflies and bees. Peppercorn-like seedheads follow the flowers, providing winter interest. The leaves turn butter-yellow in shortly after the flowering.

Wooley white alder excels in a moist, humusy, well drained, acid soil in dappled or partial shade. Avoid planting it in extremely hot or dry locations. It is wonderful added to a woodland garden or shady mixed border for flower interest in early fall when you only have grasses and daisies for interest.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 6

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    7 - 9

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    5'-8' / 1.5m - 2.4m

  • Width

    3'-5' / 0.9m - 1.5m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Fall

  • Native To

    Southeastern United States

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow

  • Bark Color

    Sandy Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    Yes

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Mixed Border, Screening / Wind Break

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes