Summersweet, Sweet Pepper Bush 'Vanilla Spice'

Clethra alnifolia

Family: Clethraceae
Genus: Clethra (KLEE-thra) (Info)
Species: alnifolia (al-nee-FOH-lee-uh) (Info)
Cultivar: Vanilla Spice
Additional cultivar information:(aka Caleb)



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

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

Flowers are fragrant

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

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

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

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:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer




Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Highwood, Illinois

Peoria, Illinois

Greene, New York

Fredericktown, Ohio

Bellevue, Washington

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 9, 2010, braun06 from Peoria Heights, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

Very good growing shrub. The flower stalks are large, perhaps up to 6-7" long. The marketing exaggerates on size of the florets themselves. They are not the size of a dime rather but are the same as other cultivars which is some pretty strong lying compared to the advertising. This aside I know if anyone had bought this plant wouldn't dig it out because of the lies. It is a good ornamenal and fragrant plant, however I dont feel this cultivar differs much from sixteen candles or the like.


On Mar 27, 2009, ShrubSource from Zeeland, MI wrote:

Clethra - Vanilla Spice Summersweet

This North American native is a standout plant with attractive glossy, dark green leaves and extra large flowers. Vanilla Spice is a strong growing and a healthy shrub. The individual flowers are roughly the size of a dime, about twice the size of a typical Clethra. It has large spikes that are loaded with fragrant, pure white flowers in the late summer. There are few plants that offer such wonderful fragrance in the late summer. Butterflies and hummingbirds adore this plant. Excellent flowering shrub for landscapes, use it in perennial or shrub borders, and masses or groupings.