Calycanthus floridus, commonly called Sweetshrub, Strawberry shrub or Carolina Allspice, is a dense, rounded deciduous shrub with a suckering habit which grows 6-9' (less frequently to 12') tall with an equal or slightly greater spread. Features very fragrant, brown to reddish-brown flowers (2" across) which bloom at the ends of short branchlets in May. Flowers give way to brownish, urn-shaped fruits (seed capsules) which mature in fall and persist throughout the winter. Lustrous, dark green (pale beneath), ovate to elliptic leaves to 6" long turn golden yellow in fall. Leaves are aromatic when bruised. It is called sweetshrub and strawberry bush in reference to the fragrant blooms which have been described as combining hints of pineapple, strawberry and banana. U.S. native from Virginia to Florida. Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Grows somewhat taller in shade than in sun. Tolerant of a wide range of soils, but prefers rich loams. Prune immediately after flowering to shape or maintain compactness. Specimen near front door, patio or other living areas where the fragrant flower aroma may be enjoyed. Shrub borders. Foundations. Native plant areas. Hardy in zones 4-9.
Growing Instructions for the Strawberry Shrub
The seeds have a period of dormancy. They can be planted outdoors in the fall for spring germination or they can be cold stratified to simulate winter conditions and to break their dormancy at any time of the year. 1. Scarify the seeds by nicking or sanding the seed coat. The seeds can be sanded with sandpaper, a nail file or an emery board. 2. Place the seeds in a plastic bag and seal it. Store the bag in a refrigerator for two months. 3. Fill a pot with potting soil. Use a pot that has drainage holes in the base. 4. Sow the seeds on the soil and cover them with a thin layer of soil. 5. Water the container and leave it to drain. 6. Put the pot in a warm, sunny area. 7. Water the seeds and keep the soil moist but not wet. 8. The seedlings can be transplanted when they are a few inches tall.