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Most Accents put on their floral show during the frenzy of spring, turning green for the summer months. Our landscapes become rather quiet then. Ruby Spice Summersweet bucks the trend. This is one Accent that lifts our spirits when the days are hot. Ruby Spice provides a midsummer pick-me-up with a parade of perky pink flower spikes. A treat for the nose as well as the eyes, the blooms waft a heavenly fragrance into the air, too. Plant Summersweet near your favorite outdoor sitting area, or site it under a window so the delicious perfume can follow you inside.
It took a while, but Summersweet eventually got the respect it deserves. Although it was virtually unknown for ages, this charismatic Accent is native all over the eastern U.S., from Maine to Florida and west to eastern Texas, growing in wet soils. The medium to large, spreading plant typically sports white flowers. This pink version is an improvement on a much older form called ‘Pink Spires’—Ruby Spice features darker blooms that make more of an impact than Pink Spires. A Connecticut plantsman discovered Ruby Spice in 1992 at Broken Arrow Nursery in Hamden.
Ruby Spice Summersweet will brighten your autumn landscape, too. When the days turn crisp and cool, Ruby Spice puts on another glorious show. Its dark, forest green leaves suddenly become a luminous yellow, shining like polished gold.
How to Grow
Remarkably adaptable, Ruby Spice Summersweet is equally at home in the hot, sticky South as in the frigid North—it tolerates temperature drops to -30ºF! It performs well in both sun and shade. The one thing it does demand is a steady supply of water. Don’t let it dry out. This is an excellent choice for a rain garden or for that troublesome low spot in your yard that stay soggy much of the time. Prune Ruby Spice in the spring or anytime you like—it blooms on the new wood of the season, so an early trim won’t remove flower buds.
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