Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Japanese Clethra
Clethra barbinervis

Family: Clethraceae
Genus: Clethra (KLEE-thra) (Info)
Species: barbinervis (bar-BIN-ner-viss) (Info)

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

2 members have or want this plant for trade.


12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade


Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer


Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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1 positive
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral dhdunlap On Apr 26, 2010, dhdunlap from West Plains, MO wrote:

I had nice specimens both in the deep Missouri Ozarks and in Kansas City. Both were killed stone dead by the extended hard freeze of April 2007. Have restarted the plant in both locations.
The other hazard is deer, which will eat off all the new growth just because they can. Why can't they eat the confounded bush honeysuckles?

Positive springrunfarm On Jan 2, 2008, springrunfarm from Coatesville, PA wrote:

I have an 8-9' specimen in front (north side) of my house. It produces lovely drooping white flowers in mid-summer that are very fragrant. I get comments about it when it is in bloom.

Neutral berrygirl On Jan 6, 2006, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

From the Southern Living Gardening book: Slow-growing plant reaches 15-18 ft. tall and about one-half to one-thirds as wide. Has attractive, peeling, glossy gray to brown bark when mature. Produces drooping, 4-6 in. clusters of fragrant, bell-shaped white flowers. Oval, pointed, sharply toothed dark green leaves turn bright yellow in fall. 'Variegata' has leaves attractively splashed with golden yellow.

I have not grown this plant yet but hope to do so in the near future. Will post with my experience.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Lenox, Massachusetts
Horton, Michigan
Lansing, Michigan
Coatesville, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Lexington, Virginia
Seattle, Washington

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