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Itea Virginica

(credit:  Phran Novelli)

(credit: Phran Novelli)

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By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Here’s an easy-to-grow native shrub with multiple seasons of interest from spring flowers to show-stopping fall color. Itea virginica, also known as Virginia Sweetspire.

In May, it’s covered with loads of white flowers in droopy racemes several inches long that flow over the shrub in a sort of a well-kept ‘Cousin Itt’ hairdo. The fragrant blossoms lightly scent the air and attract butterflies. Itea has a nice dense habit and it’s lush with green leaves all summer which turn brilliant orange, red and purple in autumn. Some of the best fall colors are on cultivars such as ‘Henry’s Garnet’ which grows about 4 feet high and ‘Little Henry’ which stays around 2 feet high.

Itea can be happy in full sun, part sun and even shade and adapts well to all kinds of soils too. It’s an easy-care plant that can work in so many gardens so, when you’re out shopping for shrubs, look for our native Itea virginica.