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'Sweet Shrub' (Calycanthus floridus) - so talk to me...

Middle of, VA(Zone 7a)

http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/550/
Anyone with thoughts opinions on the fragrance of this one??

Barnesville, GA(Zone 8a)

IMHO, not worth it buying it if it's the native with the red/brown blooms. Sure it smells like apples while blooming for a couple weeks, after that, nada, and it spreads into thickets. I can take you out to the deep woods if you want to dig one up, lol.

Middle of, VA(Zone 7a)

Hmmm....I'd heard smells like Strawberries...wonder if they're the same one...LOL

The species plant is grown at my local arboretum. It's okay but sparse. Fragrance is light and apple-ish.

I have three cultivars that are about three years old. 'Michael Lindsey' is nice and leafy and has maroon flowers that have a light scent of apple jack. 'Athens' is greenish-yellow flowers with an very light scent. One 'Athens' is doing great and the other is struggling. The other cultivar that I have is 'Venus'. It has very large white flowers that are magnolia-like. The scent is sweet and fruity. So far, I like the 'Venus' best but the Michael Lindey's are getting better each year.

Both 'Michael Lindsey' and 'Athens' are Calycanthus floridus. The other is Synocalycanthus 'Venus' (I think) but if you search plant files with calycanthus it should come up with the others anyway.

Of course, the scent will vary so please take this with a grain of salt. In my yard, all of my Calycanthus seem to prefer more acidic soil than what I have. I have to add sulfur or ironite or their leaves turn yellow. The ones with more sun are happier and grow more upright. Again, this is only how things are in my little corner of the world. Your mileage may vary.

Flower on 'Venus'

Thumbnail by valrita
Brandon, FL(Zone 9b)

Thanks for posting the question Chantell...I was always wondering that same question....I was lucky enough to pick up one of those Venus Calycanthus from Bluestone when it was half price....haven't received it yet but looking forward to it. It's going to be a trial since I've seen them up to zone 9b and then some only to zone 8 so I'm doubtful it will work but willing to try.

Thanks for the description of the scents.....when I see so many different positives or negatives of a scent I wait till I see the plant in person first before buying it.

Middle of, VA(Zone 7a)

velnita - what wonderful descriptions, thank you so much!! I don't get too pressed about "form" - one would need to see my mess I call a yard to understand - I'm happy with the naturalizing effect...heck to be perfectly honestly...long as it has a good scent - looks are most certainly secondary to me. Neighbors will enjoy if they simply closed their eyes and breathe in....ahhhh. Now I just need to peek and figure out which one I bought a baby of. Glad they like acidic soil...THAT I have plenty of...just ask the gardenias!! ^_^

None of mine have a strong scent like a lilac or clethra. But, they're only 2-3 feet tall so I'm hoping the scent gets stronger each year. They have a spring flush of blooms but then they get sporadic flowers throughout the year. That surprised me.

The calycanthus floridus at the arboretum is over six feet tall but also doesn't have a strong scent. It's right by the path that I've walked for decades yet I only noticed it about two years ago. I didn't notice it by scent but by the unusual flowers. Hubby thinks it smells like fermented apples (his nose is better than mine). I can detect a scent but it's light--even then I have to directly smell the flower.

I've seen others who think they have a strong fragrance so they must vary widely. I hope yours has a strong scent.

Middle of, VA(Zone 7a)

Ahhh thank you...me too!!! ^_^ You've been a great help - I appreciate it!!

Central, AL(Zone 8a)

I have a large one that smells faintly of strawberries. The seed pods have a faint nutmeg scent as well.

Middle of, VA(Zone 7a)

Seems like there's all kinds of this plant...kinda like Forrest Gump "...like a box of Chocolates - never know what you're gonna get"

Dahlonega, GA

I passed a bunch on an old jeep road in the woods, identified by smell . I jumped out and pulled up a coupla nice plants , run home and planted them . Five years later , after no odor, and taking over the woods, I dug those suckers up .They were womderful in the woods but blooms had no scent in my woods garden . Btw ,Chantell , how long will it take for the Maid of Orleans to bloom ?They sure made pretty little plants , thanks again .Sally in Georgia (digger)

Richmond, TX(Zone 9a)

C, mine hasn't flowered, less than 1 yr old in my garden. I knew it was deciduous but I still got butterflies in my stomach after seeing it as a stick. However, this morning I noticed tiny little leaves around the base. If I remember correctly, I got it for the fragrance on foliage when you crush it, not for flower frag. I'll have to ck my jrnl.

Dahlonega, GA

In early America , women tucked the blooms in their clothing to give off a perfume . they have a delightful odor in the wild, and you get the scent as you get within fifty foot of them. Don't know why mine never had a scent, but as invasive as they were , I'd have gotten rid of them even if they had a perfume .

Middle of, VA(Zone 7a)

Sally - funny (or not so much) how a different locale (soil etc) can affect the scent of a plant. As for the MOO's when they're from a plant that's already bloomed you should have them first season. Mine stays green indoors but won't bloom for me, I'm sure, till I put her outside late spring-ish. You're a zone warmer then I am - correct? So you should be blessed with the blooms sooner. Just remember out of the jasmines these don't like the sun so much and can go a tad longer in between waters. Very easy plant but will let you know if she's getting too much sun. I keep mine in bright shade - if there is such a thing...LOL

Dahlonega, GA

Can't wait . sally

South West, LA(Zone 9a)

Mine has sat in its same spot for 3 years now looking just as sad as it could be! It was a 1 gal pot when I bought it and Id say its about the same size now... It has been thru some pretty tough weather but Im about to toss it! Unless it CHANGES MY MIND! Shouting so maybe it will hear me lol!!
The swallowtail cats seem to like it and honestly I think that is why I keep it.
Caren

Dahlonega, GA

Caren, are you speaking of a a M o O ? Don't toss it .Repot it and trim the roots . Digger

Middle of, VA(Zone 7a)

Ahhh Caren - feed that baby (are we talking Jasmine?) some fish emulsion/water after checking to see if she needs repotted - trimming roots is good thing if they've been stagnate for some time.

Richmond, TX(Zone 9a)

Quoting:
but Im about to toss it! Unless it CHANGES MY MIND! Shouting so maybe it will hear me lol!!


LMAO. I have a couple of those which are skating on very very very thin ice.

Middle of, VA(Zone 7a)

I'm tellin' ya'll EVERY single time I've threatened a plant it's all the sudden done what it was suppose to...seriously

Dahlonega, GA

Sic "em chantell . lol sally

Middle of, VA(Zone 7a)

Gotta remain "alpha" in my house...LOL

South West, LA(Zone 9a)

Im not sure what "a a M o O" means but mine is in the ground. I'll give the poor thing a good threat and go on with my spring planting... Ive been planting sunflowers for 2 days now... I think they are going to be beautiful this year!

Middle of, VA(Zone 7a)

Maid Of Orleans jasmine...that's a MoO or something a cow says - your choice. LOL

South West, LA(Zone 9a)

Oh ok... I was still on the Sweet shrub :)

Middle of, VA(Zone 7a)

Funny how "we" veer OT eh? Sorry about that.

Richmond, TX(Zone 9a)

and veer we do! I've been stockpiling miniature furniture for future dish gardens. And I've got a dwarf holly, dwarf mondo and some really nice clay pots. What does that have to do w/ sweet shrub? absolutely nothing, unless you can tell me there is a dwarf sweet shrub.

Thumbnail by vossner
Dahlonega, GA

Vossner , you make me foflmao . digger

Middle of, VA(Zone 7a)

I should send you the leftovers from a mini-garden I did for my mom, Nery

Almere, Netherlands(Zone 8b)

We inherited a sweetshrub growing on our property. It's about 7 feet tall and smells like bubble gum and cantaloupe (the bubble gum odor fades after a couple of weeks and segues into cantaloupe and then overripe cantaloupe, still nice) all summer long. Maybe we lucked into a superior variety as far as that is concerned, or maybe it's age? I don't know. I love it though. It is growing in the shade of cedars in a moist-ish location in heavy clay soil. There are plenty of little suckers all around it I'd be happy to send out for trade for other scented plants or postage. It hasn't leafed out yet.

Is everyone's calycanthus blooming? My Michael Lindsey and Athens have been blooming for a few weeks.

Mine are much more fragrant this year. Perhaps due to getting older? I don't know. This year, Athens is definitely the most fragrant. I can smell it from 5 or 6 feet from the shrub. Sweet apple scent.

Calycanthus floridus ĎAthensí

Thumbnail by valrita
Dahlonega, GA

Chantell , They had a few blooms off and on through winter . (in the house ) .Yum, don't have to use air freshner when the house is closed up so long . Ah , spring and open windows . digger

Middle of, VA(Zone 7a)

Ahhhh I'm jealous...how would you describe the scent on your's?

Athens--very sweet, fresh apple scent. Wafts on the breeze on warm days. I can easily smell it from three feet away and sometimes six or eight feet away. The scent seems to get stronger as the plant matures. It wasn't this fragrant a couple of years ago.
Michael Lindsey--Fermented sweet apple scent. Like hard cider. Not as strong as Athens this year but I have smelled it from about 5 feet away from the plant twice so far.
Venus--sweet fruity scent. Not as strong as the other two but it just started blooming so it might just need time. Venus blooms latest of the Calycanthus that I have.

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

I just planted about 16 all along a path. Got two pods from my one existing...the native with the dark maroon flowers..look a tad like wooden. It smells like apple when you brush it...and occ. I will get a blast without going near. It does send out shoots but I've place where the shrubs can spread to their hearts content.

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

Corrected to say that I planted the seeds not a small tree.

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Just ordered calycanthus floridus this year, am trying all the way out here in colorado. Books said is hardy here and I will ammend my planting hole with peat to lower my ph. I have been eyeballing these for years and thought I'd give it a try, sure hope its fragrant, is the sole reason for ordering. Lol. Good Luck, Kathy.

Hanceville, AL(Zone 7a)

Irises only bloom for a time in the spring, so why not a sweet-smelling native shrub? If mine blooms this year, I will post a pic. Luciee {;=)

Dumbarton, VA

I got mine many years ago and is the old fashion soecies I'm sure. It was 30 yrs ago and came from a friend's mom's garden of 50 plus years. She had a 60 border about 6' tall. She just kept dividing them. She gave me only one at the time because it wasn't the best time of the hear - mid July but said I could come back if I ever wanted more. I had friend's who got some from her but complained theirs never smelled as good as mine. It turns out they missed the point that they only smell around 4-7 pm give an hour each way. each day. Once they realized that and made the effort to go out and smell them each day in April/early May depending on year - they got why I loved it. I also advised they get another one and plant near where they come in each evening and where they sit on deck which is where mine are. Mine smell of the most delicious rupe strawberries and fresh very ripe pineapple. I absolutely love them and can't wait each year. Now, that said, I did buy some about 10 years ago, they died except for 3 I moved - I think it was too wet where I put them. However, they don't have the intensity of the driveway original bush. The newer ones from a website - old fashion also are on South/west side of house. The drive is on north side. I have been wanting to get some of the hybrids but won't do unless I smell them first. Now, if you live near Winterthur gardens - I went the first time in spring in late 80s and theirs were heavenly too. I would find out which botanical has it, and if they sell them - go visit in late afternoon and wait to see if the smell is good. I will tell you, when. it isn't smelling - there really isn't any odor at all...but when it starts it is there and you won't be able to tear yourself away.

I would appreciate it if someone will pass a supply of highly fragrant hybrids and I will do the same.

No apple smell. Mine don't thicket - spread but not an issue in my drier location. I will habe to upload a picture next year when blooming - she is done now due to a week of mid 90s.

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