Sweet Shrub, spelled as two words or one word, is also known by its botanical name of Calycanthus floridus and is considered a must have for fragrant gardens in easternmost states. Planting and caring for Sweet Shrub is easy, and yields a sweet and divine fragrance that has earned it the nickname of "Carolina allspice". The scent of Sweet Shrub has alternately been described as a pineapple, strawberry, or banana fragrance, or a combination of all three. Sweet Shrub also produces large, lovely blossoms and odd little cylindrical winter fruits that slightly resemble water urns. Follow these simple instructions to plant and care for Sweet Shrub and enjoy its beauty and fragrance all year long.
Sweet Shrub will thrive in indirect or dappled sunlight or partial shade. It prefers low salinity, loamy, moist soil with excellent drainage. However, Sweet Shrub is adaptable and low-maintenance and has been known to thrive even in less-than-ideal conditions. Sweet Shrub is most commonly obtained as a young plant or from cuttings, and can also be grown from seeds. For newer gardeners, it is recommended to purchase Sweet Shrub as an existing plant to ensure the fragrance meets expectations, as fragrances can vary and seeds may produce a Sweet Shrub with a different fragrance bouquet than that of its parent shrub.
Sweet Shrub can be planted as an ornamental shrub or hedge facing in any direction. Because of its height and dense growth, Sweet Shrub also makes an excellent privacy screen. Dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball and as deep, and carefully prepare the soil to break up rocks and soil clumps. Fill in loamy enriched soil around the new root ball, and water thoroughly to eliminate air pockets. Since Sweet Shrub can grow as high as nine feet and spread to as much as 12 feet in width, adequate spacing for new plantings is essential. Leave at least 3 feet between plants that will be maintained at lower heights, and five feet between plants that will be maintained at a greater height. Sweet Shrub will grow slowly and can tolerate low moisture conditions, so plants should be watered and fertilized only as necessary after planting.
Sweet Shrub is very disease- and pest-resistant, and has few requirements for care. Pruning after the first season can control growth and improve air circulation to the innermost parts of the shrub. Rather than pruning away just the tips of the branches, which will encourage the shrub to grow in even bushier than before, prune back older limbs to the ground, which will encourage new growth to form. Also it can be helpful to know that Sweet Shrub will grow taller if planted in a shadier area, so pruning may need to be done more often. Sweet Shrub will also produce shoots or suckers that may need to be controlled or pruned away if planted in an area where carefully controlled growth is desired.