Virginia Sweetspire, Gooseberry, Itea 'Henry's Garnet'

Itea virginica

Family: Iteaceae
Genus: Itea (eye-TEE-uh) (Info)
Species: virginica (vir-JIN-ih-kuh) (Info)
Cultivar: Henry's Garnet
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Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Sun Exposure:

Partial to Full Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Foliage Color:



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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Flowers are fragrant

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Lamar, Arkansas

Morrilton, Arkansas

Glastonbury, Connecticut

Oxford, Connecticut

Southbury, Connecticut

Dover, Delaware

Ocean View, Delaware

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Dunnellon, Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Tallahassee, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Chicago, Illinois

Hanna City, Illinois

Saint Joseph, Illinois

Evansville, Indiana

Indianapolis, Indiana

Solsberry, Indiana

Louisville, Kentucky

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Lake Charles, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

Buckfield, Maine

Columbia, Maryland

Lakeside, Michigan

Midland, Michigan

Kasota, Minnesota

Carriere, Mississippi

Clinton, Mississippi

Hudson, New Hampshire

Piscataway, New Jersey

Whiting, New Jersey

Central Square, New York

Boone, North Carolina

Cary, North Carolina

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Highlands, North Carolina

Morehead City, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina

Weaverville, North Carolina

Cincinnati, Ohio

Geneva, Ohio

North Olmsted, Ohio

Allentown, Pennsylvania

Downingtown, Pennsylvania

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania

Norristown, Pennsylvania

Clover, South Carolina

Clarksville, Tennessee

Cleburne, Texas

Flint, Texas

Sugar Land, Texas

Annandale, Virginia

Arlington, Virginia

Lanexa, Virginia

Newport News, Virginia

Oakton, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 7, 2018, anniegolden from Dover, DE wrote:

I have 4 of these in my mostly shady central Delaware back yard. I think it is an under-utilized plant. It blooms here after the big fancy show of azaleas and wisteria are done. Then the itea and wild hydrangea put on a more reserved show. A few years after planting, a big oak tree had to come down, and now one of the itea is just getting too much sun, and is not too happy. They all send out suckers, but these are not too difficult to remove. If you have a shady yard, you might try planting this shrub, especially if you are aiming for a woodland look.


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

This is the most common cultivar grown in southeast PA and probably elsewhere too. It was selected for bearing excellent red fall color and for larger flower clusters, and shiny stems that are more purplish than the average mother species. It is a handsome, clean plant that should be grown more. It does sucker a lot in wet or very moist soils. It is easy to prune.


On Mar 22, 2013, jaib from Rebecca, GA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I think I have this plant growing wild on my property. It may be something else. Most are in full sun, but some are in a shady moist area and these are huge, almost like trees. These have been here a long time.
Towards fall the racemes the flowers were on get very tiny green berries that turn brown and fall to the ground. I see the fall pictures but don't see any of these seed racemes on them. We mowed a lot of these down when we bought the property but haven't mowed them since. They are growing like crazy and are four feet tall in two years. Could this be something else? I would send pics but right now they don't look like much. They are just starting to get buds.


On Mar 14, 2012, Mitchella from Pownal, ME (Zone 5b) wrote:

I've grown this plant for several years in Buckfield, Maine (zone 5a now) in light shade and moist soil and it did very well with little suckering so far. A great three season selection of a native plant; incidentally not closely related to Ribes, despite the common name Gooseberry. I've recently moved and already have one on order for the new garden.


On May 23, 2010, Osteole from Lamar, AR (Zone 7a) wrote:

Gorgous blooms in late May. Mine gets 3-4 hours sunlight, clay soil. Starting to send out runners, but they are easily trimmed out of the ground to control spread.


On Apr 24, 2009, egardenut from Annandale, VA wrote:

I have this plant in my back yard (wood edge, light shade, moist, well-drained soil) and it has done very well. I have expanded my front garden, which gets sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon, and has drier and more clay-ey soil, but I am going to try another Henry Garnet there. Love the fragrance and the fall color!


On Jun 27, 2008, sladeofsky from Louisville, KY (Zone 6b) wrote:

This is a native plant to the Eastern US, where the genus Ribes has been cultivated as a food crop from at least colonial times. I remember my Great-grandmother having several rows of gooseberries. But those were always Ribes of whatever species. Generally geooseberries are Ribes with fruit much larger than currants and colored green, gold or blush pink. I know how varied common names are, but this one confuses me bcause sweetspires are native and gooseberries are very traditional and common.


On Jun 25, 2007, braun06 from Irving, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

This plant has been very easy to grow in fairly good shade. In my area depending on soil it can take on some yellowing from high ph soils but is easily correctible. Mine has established very well in one year and has grown quite quickly in its second year. Henry's Garnet is very handsome in leaf and in flower. It has very nice fall coloration too. I have noticed one of my branches has developed a mutation that the leaves are now variegated. They are mottled in different patterns green, creme, and white. When the summer gets warmer some light rose shading occurs on these leaves as well.


On Sep 4, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

This plant has fragrant attractive racemes of white flowers in mid-Summer, followed by green berries which turn brownish purple.

If given moist soil, it will sucker vigorously, and may spread beyond where it was intended. Provide adequate water, but do not keep constantly moist to help check its growth.