With its fragrant spring flowers and lustrous leaves that turn yellow in fall, Carolina allspice qualifies as an all-star choice for urban, suburban, and native landscapes. Site this North American native shrub in a perennial garden or shrub border for multi-seasonal interest. Plant a row of these shrubs near a property line or around a patio and create a living screen. Put a specimen near the front door, patio, or deck to take advantage of the sweet banana-strawberry fragrance that radiates from its springtime flowers.
Wildlife-Friendly Shrub Border
Carolina allspice's straplike flowers give way to seed capsules that mature in fall and last through winter. Pair this plant, which is also called sweetshrub and spice bush, with other native shrubs to create a border that welcomes wildlife with berries, pollen, and/or shelter. Native planting companions include sweet pepperbush (Clethra anifolia), bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora), American highbush cranberry (Viburnumn trilobum), Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica), beautyberry (Callicarpa americana), and ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius).
Carolina Allspice Care Must-Knows
Although Carolina allspice grows in sun to part shade, it will grow taller in part shade. This shrub prefers rich loam but will tolerate a wide range of soil types. After planting, blanket the ground around the shrub with a 2-inch-thick layer of mulch to help conserve soil moisture; its shallow roots benefit from the evaporation protection.
Prune Carolina allspice after it flowers in early summer to maintain its compact, round shape. Reduce stems by 1/3 of their original length to reduce overall plant size. If the shrub becomes leggy and takes on a ragged or overgrown appearance, cut it back to 12 inches above ground level in later winter. It will quickly produce new, compact growth. If you want to prevent naturalization, remove root suckers.