Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Virginia Sweetspire, Virginia Willow, Gooseberry, Tassel-white
Itea virginica

Family: Grossulariaceae
Genus: Itea (eye-TEE-uh) (Info)
Species: virginica (vir-JIN-ih-kuh) (Info)

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

4 members have or want this plant for trade.


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

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)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Partial to Full Shade


Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer


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

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From softwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Click thumbnail
to view:

By Rickwebb
Thumbnail #1 of Itea virginica by Rickwebb

By Rickwebb
Thumbnail #2 of Itea virginica by Rickwebb

By Rickwebb
Thumbnail #3 of Itea virginica by Rickwebb

By Rickwebb
Thumbnail #4 of Itea virginica by Rickwebb

By Rickwebb
Thumbnail #5 of Itea virginica by Rickwebb

By Rickwebb
Thumbnail #6 of Itea virginica by Rickwebb


2 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Rickwebb On Jan 3, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

I don't see the straight mother species planted too much, as several cultivars are planted a lot in southeast PA. The straight species has shorter flower spikes than most of the the cultivars. It is a handsome plant with good foliage that turns a good fall color from yellow to red. It has smooth, shiny, purplish stems. It is a clean plant that is informal in being a whole bunch of individual stems coming up out of the ground. It does sucker a lot in draining wet or really moist soils. It is easy to prune and to propagate from suckers. It likes acid soils up to about pH of 7, but I am not sure where the breaking point is for too much alkaline.

Neutral htop On Jan 31, 2009, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not grown this plant. It is native to Alabama, Arkansas, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Positive Lady_fern On Oct 22, 2006, Lady_fern from Jeffersonville, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

This is one of the very few shrubs that will bloom in the shade. Its flowers are nice in bouquets too. Ours is growing along the NE side of the house and it has filled in its space very well. Pinching helps it to branch and fill in better. It does send up suckers from the roots.

Neutral TREEHUGR On Dec 26, 2004, TREEHUGR from Now in Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Listed as a good shrub to use for fall/winter color for Florida gardeners. Native to most of the state even the southern counties.

Grows from 3 to 7 feet tall. Fragrant flowers late spring.

There are quite a few cultivars of this species. It's usually referred to as Sweetspire. Too bad you have to drive to North Caroline to buy it though.


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

Wallingford, Connecticut
Bartow, Florida
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Glen Ellyn, Illinois
Jeffersonville, Indiana
Mandeville, Louisiana
Bucyrus, Ohio
Downingtown, Pennsylvania
New Caney, Texas
Chesapeake, Virginia

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