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Virginia Sweetspire, Virginia Willow, Gooseberry, Tassel-white

Itea virginica

Family: Grossulariaceae
Genus: Itea (eye-TEE-uh) (Info)
Species: virginica (vir-JIN-ih-kuh) (Info)
View this plant in a garden



Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

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

Flowers are fragrant

Water Requirements:

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

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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


Unknown - Tell us

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

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 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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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.


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.


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.