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How to Grow Calycanthus


Position – Full sun or part shade

Soil – Well-drained

Flowering Period – Summer

Hardiness –  Fully hardy

About Calycanthus

Calycanthus are also known as ‘sweetshrub’ or ‘carolina all spice’ and are deciduous shrubs with stunning water-lily like blooms that elegantly decorate thick slender stems during summer. Simple, yet voluptuous leaves support these stunning flowers that omit a rich fruity fragrance, often used as an ingredient in potpourri. They are highly attractive in flower beds and borders within a cottage or informal garden setting. You should expect your Calycanthus to grow to an approximate height and spread of between 5-10m (16-32’).

How to plant Calycanthus

Calycanthus are best planted in well-drained soil of clay, chalk, sand and loam within an acidic, alkaline and neutral PH balance. Although Calycanthus are tolerant of many soil types, they will benefit from adequate moisture levels, as dry soils will result in slower growth. At the time of planting, amend the soil with a 5cm (2”) layer of compost, ensuring every planting hole is spaced 1-1.5m (40-60”) apart to leave adequate room for when these plants reach their ultimate height and spread. It is recommended that Calycanthus are positioned in a sheltered and partially shaded area, although they will also thrive well in full sun.

How to care for Calycanthus

Calycanthus require very little maintenance once established. Ensure that a moderate watering regime is implemented to ensure optimum health and development, increasing the volume of water during the peak of midsummer. To retain a healthy shape, prune your Calycanthus once the flowering period has ceased as this will not only maintain an attractive structure but will encourage healthy and vigorous growth for the following season. If you do not wish for this plant to spread to other areas of the garden, remove any suckers.

How to propagate Calycanthus

It is possible to propagate Calycanthus by seed or softwood cuttings.

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