Sweetshrub Growing Guide

Calycanthus floridus


Crop Rotation Group



Moist, well-drained soil enriched with plenty of compost or other organic matter.


Full sun to part shade.

Frost tolerant

Sweetshrub is winter hardy to -20°F (-29°C).


None generally needed.


Single Plants: 5' 10" (1.80m) each way (minimum)
Rows: 5' 10" (1.80m) with 5' 10" (1.80m) row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

Set out purchased plants in spring, just as they are emerging from dormancy. Water young plants regularly, and cover the root zone with an organic mulch to keep the soil moist at all times.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalized calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.


Native to the southeastern US, sweetshrub is easily grown in partial shade along a woodland edge. The native species blooms a rich rusty red color, but cultivars have been selected with ivory and wine-red blossoms. Fragrance is variable with sweetshrubs grown from seed, which is the best reason to opt for a vegetatively propagated cultivar. You don’t want to miss the sweet, fruity fragrance produced by the exotic flowers in early summer. Established plants produce suckers near their base that can be carefully dug and transplanted to new locations. The new plants will have the same fragrance as the parent plant.


Branches can be used in cut arrangements, preferably taken from the back side of the plants where they won’t be missed. Individual sweet shrub flowers can be dried for use in potpourri. Sweetshrub requires little pruning. Trim as needed in late summer to remove dead branches, but allow the plant to follow its natural rounded shape. Plants often turn bright yellow in autumn.


Sweetshrub has aromatic leaves that many pests find unpalatable, and it rarely has problems with disease. Protect young plants from nibbling by curious deer. Established plants are considered deer-resistant.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Sweetshrub