Strader's Plant Finder


Merlot Virginia Sweetspire

Itea virginica 'Merlot'


Merlot Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica 'Merlot') at Strader's Garden Centers

Merlot Virginia Sweetspire in fall

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Merlot Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica 'Merlot') at Strader's Garden Centers

Merlot Virginia Sweetspire in fall

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  4 feet

Spread:  3 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade  full shade 

Hardiness Zone:  5a


A dense, compact selection of a native shrub which features long and narrow panicles of white flowers in early summer, excellent burgundy to red fall color that persists into winter; spreads to form small colonies, good for borders or as a foundation

Ornamental Features

Merlot Virginia Sweetspire is draped in stunning panicles of fragrant white flowers at the ends of the branches in early summer. It has green deciduous foliage. The pointy leaves turn outstanding shades of burgundy and in the fall. The smooth brown bark and dark red branches add an interesting dimension to the landscape.

Landscape Attributes

Merlot Virginia Sweetspire is a dense spreading deciduous shrub with a ground-hugging habit of growth. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.

This shrub will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and should only be pruned after flowering to avoid removing any of the current season's flowers. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Suckering

Merlot Virginia Sweetspire is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • General Garden Use
  • Naturalizing And Woodland Gardens
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Merlot Virginia Sweetspire will grow to be about 4 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 3 feet. It tends to fill out right to the ground and therefore doesn't necessarily require facer plants in front. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 40 years or more.

This shrub performs well in both full sun and full shade. It is an amazingly adaptable plant, tolerating both dry conditions and even some standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This is a selection of a native North American species.

Merlot Virginia Sweetspire makes a fine choice for the outdoor landscape, but it is also well-suited for use in outdoor pots and containers. Because of its spreading habit of growth, it is ideally suited for use as a 'spiller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the edges where it can spill gracefully over the pot. It is even sizeable enough that it can be grown alone in a suitable container. Note that when grown in a container, it may not perform exactly as indicated on the tag - this is to be expected. Also note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Massing  Garden  Naturalizing  Container 
Flowers  Fall Color  Bark  Winter Value 
Ornamental Features