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Plant of the Month: Sweet Shrub

by Barbara Boone

As a child, I remember these maroon flowers appearing on a medium-sized shrub my grandmother called Sweet Shrub. Because of its cantaloupe-like scent, I remember the smell very well. Sweet Shrub is scientifically known as Calycanthus spp., and the plant that bears this distinct maroon-colored flower is Calycanthus floridus which is prominent in the eastern U.S. Other Calycanthus cultivars produce flowers in colors ranging from white to yellow to red. Sweet Shrub grows best in Zones 5-9, with full sun, in slightly alkaline, loamy soil. These shrubs should be pruned in early spring to maintain shape, making sure to trim suckers growing from the root system alongside the main plant.


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