Plant breeders at NC State University have been busy reinventing our native sweet shrub. Thanks to Dr. Tom Ranney, this incredible white-flowered hybrid is now available for gardeners to enjoy.
Like our native wild sweet shrub (also goes by the name Carolina Allspice) this plant will grow in sun or partial shade. Due to its hyrid vigor, 'Venus' needs room to grow and in moist soil it will reach a height and spread of 5 feet. It produces dozens of ivory-colored flower buds that open pure white with a maroon red center. Flowers are sweetly scented, like a blend of strawberries and banana.
Although sweet shrubs are not generally considered mainstream landscape plants, hybrids like 'Venus' should become increasingly popular with gardeners. It is deer resistant and doesn’t mind heavy clay soils. Use it as a specimen, in a shrub border, naturalized area or in a patio planting where its sweet floral fragrance can be enjoyed. It can also be used in a shrub border or as a foundation planting. Once you see it in flower, you'll understand why it is a showstopper!
(photo and plant information courtesy of NC State University)