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What Is Sweetshrub?

Sweetshrub is a slow growing, deciduous shrub, also known as Carolina allspice, strawberry bush, pineapple shrub and sweet Betsy, due to its fragrant flowers. Its botanical name is Calycanthus floridus. The shrub grows wild in the southeastern United States and is also used as a landscape plant.


Sweetshrub grows predominantly in hardiness zones 4 through 9 and is is indigenous to the woodlands of southeastern United States, from Florida north to the mid-Atlantic states and as far west as Mississippi. It is also used as a landscaping plant is Europe.


The plant grows from 4 to 8 feet tall, branching irregularly. In full sun, sweetshrub is rather dense and rounded. If grown in shade, it tends to be more open and loose.


The fuzzy leaves of the sweetshrub are broad and bright green, around 4 inches long and 2 inches wide, and are evenly spaced along slender stems. They turn bright yellow in fall. The plant's 1- to 2-inch flowers appear in the spring and early summer and range from strawberry to dark rust in color. The blossoms are very fragrant and last about a month.


Sweetshrub is relatively easy to grow. It prefers moist, medium soils and fairly drought tolerant. Sweetshrub is bothered by few pests. You can propagate the plant from seeds, cuttings or dividing, and you can transplant it at any time.


Sweetshrub makes a good landscape plant when used in woodland settings. You can also grow it in containers.The flowers are very fragrant and are described as fruity and spicy. Plant sweetshrub near a doorway or patio to enjoy the aroma. You can also dry the leaves, flowers and twigs for potpourri.

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