Clethra alnifolia 'Hummingbird' - Hummingbird Summer Sweet
Clethra alnifolia 'Hummingbird' - Hummingbird Summer Sweet
Clethra alnifolia 'Hummingbird' - Hummingbird Summer Sweet

Clethra alnifolia 'Hummingbird' - Hummingbird Summer Sweet

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Butterfly FriendlyDeer ResistantRain GardenPart ShadeBird Friendly
Hummingbird Summer Sweet
Clethra alnifolia 'Hummingbird'

A beautiful, versatile, compact shrub, with three-season interest. Glossy, dark green foliage is not bothered by pests or disease. In late summer it is covered with 6-7” creamy white flowers with a deliciously, spicy scent. The flowers bloom for many weeks attracting butterflies, hummingbirds and native bees. The seed that follows is relished by songbirds and other wildlife. In autumn the foliage turns a lovely shade of yellow. It grows best in moist, slightly acid, sandy soil in sun to light shade, though it tolerates a range of conditions. Selected by Mr. Fred Galle formerly of Callaway Gardens in Georgia. Winner of the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society Gold Medal Award and the prestigious Georgia Gold Medal Award.



  • Bees, butterflies and hummingbirds enjoy the nectar
  • Many birds and mammals eat the fruit
  • Produces loads of fragrant, creamy white blooms in late summer
  • Bright, golden yellow fall color
  • Tolerates shade, acidic wet soil, and salt spray
  • Easy to grow, deer resistant

Native Range

Found in swamps, sea shores, stream banks and hillside bogs. 

Map Credit: The Biota of North America 
Map Key: Green (native), Teal (native, adventive), Blue (present), Yellow (present & rare), Red (extinct)

Frogs are known as indicator species because they give scientists valuable insight into how an ecosystem is functioning. Plants that grow in moist conditions like this summer sweet provide great cover for frogs. Creating a pond or other water feature in your garden will help to attract them. 



 Easy to grow in medium to wet, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Will grow in heavier shade but not as vigorously. Prefers part shade and consistently moist to wet, acidic soils but adapts to a wide range of soil, moisture and light conditions. Spreads slowly by rhizomes.


Mature Size: 4-6ft. Tall x 4-6ft. Wide

Hardiness Zone: 4-9

Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade

Coming Soon!

    American Beauties Offer Solution Based Plant Collections to Help you Choose

    Quick Tips for Choosing Plants:

    • Planting a variety of native trees, shrubs, perennials and vines increases biodiversity and gives wildlife a source for food, cover and nesting
    • Choose a mixture of deciduous and evergreen trees so birds and other wildlife will always be able to find shelter
    • Plant trees and large shrubs where they will block winter winds from the house and shade it in summer, that will save energy and lower your carbon footprint
    • Try your best to buy plants that were grown locally, your independent garden center will be your best bet
    • Think about ultimate height and width of the plant you choose, make sure it will fit the space you have for it when it's reached maturity
    • Plant nectar plants in groups, to attract butterflies and other beneficial insects more easily
    • Ask for help if you need it. Most garden centers either have a landscape designer on staff or they can give you a reference of a designer that is adept at native plant wildlife gardening. There will be upfront costs but they are small when compared to having to redo a landscape that wasn't what you really wanted

    Our Plant Tags Hold the Secrets to Success

    Choosing the right plants for your garden can seem like a daunting task but we’re here to help. Our horticulturists have spent a considerable amount of time researching and writing our beautiful, American Beauties plant tags to help you be successful. First of all, when you see an American Beauties branded pot at your garden center you can be confident that the plant is native to your area and a responsible choice. 

    When you look at our tag you’ll find information about the plants natural habitat. That will give you a clue to how it will work in your backyard. For instance if the plant is naturally founded and moist, shade and you have full sun, it’s not the plant for you. The “Features” section gives you an overview or plant description so you’ll know what to expect. While the “Benefits” section talks about the plants strong suits and how the plant will benefit wildlife. 

    A Special Note About Exposure

    Full sun: Prefers six or more hours of direct sunshine a day
    Partial shade: Thrives in three to six hours of daily sunshine
    Shade: Generally does well with less than three hours of sun per day. Having said that even shade loving plants will struggle in extremely deep shade.


    Best Plants for Bees - Double sided printout for download

    Best Plants for Butterflies - Double sided printout for download

    Best Plants for Birds - Double sided printout for download

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