Calycanthus floridus
“Carolina Allspice”

Photo by Mad Ball

This eastern cousin of our California native “Allspice Bush” (C. occidentalis) displays many of the same appealing qualities as the western species – vigorous growth, aromatic glossy leaves, lotus-like reddish-brown flowers and an ability to adapt to many planting locations. Despite being Winter deciduous, it has nearly year-round appeal. The spicy-scented 4-6” leathery leaves emerge in Spring, quickly forming a rounded 6-10’ high and wide multi-branching shrub. Flowers appear at the tips of branches in late Spring, exuding a heavenly strawberry-banana fragrance and are followed by urn-shaped brown seed pods that persists on the plant for months. Adaptable to a variety of soils, it sends down suckers to search for moisture. Ideally, plant in moist but well-drained soil in light shade or filtered sun. Top dress with mulch in Winter. Prune to shape. Disease and deer resistant. Tolerates occasional flooding. Hardy down to -25 degrees F.

Curious Plantsman

Part Sun
Average Water

Perennial Shrub
USDA zones 4-9