Clethra alnifolia 'Sixteen Candles'


Tips for Homeowners:

Might need to prune for shape in early spring and at the same time it is best to apply a slow-release fertilizer.

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The late season garden will come alive with the fragrant, white flowers that look like candles on a compact, mounded form.

  • Sweetly fragrant, white flowers
  • Sturdy stems hold flowers erect like birthday candles
  • Attracts butterflies

Prefers moist soils in situations like shrub borders, woodland gardens, perennial gardens or along foundations.  Grows best in eastern, central Kansas.

Height: 3-5 ft
Spread: 3-4 ft
Zone: 4-9
Color: White

Interesting Notes about Summersweet:

Clethra is a shrub that grows naturally in moist soils and in the landscape it appreciates the same treatment. If the soil gets too dry it may drop some leaves. The shrub naturally suckers (sends out new sprouts from the trunk) and will spead in an area if allowed.

Characteristics & Attributes


  • Great Foliage
  • Border or Bed
  • Low Maintenance
  • Naturalizing
  • Focal Point
  • Fall Color
  • Specimen
  • Mass Planting
  • Long Blooming

Foliage Color:

  • Green
  • Yellow


  • Full Sun
  • Partial Sun

Attracts Wildlife:

  • Attracts Butterflies

Critter Resistance:

  • Deer Resistant


  • Upright

Season of Interest (Flowering):

  • Summer

Season of Interest (Foliage):

  • Fall
  • Summer

Soil Moisture:

  • Moist, Well-Drained