GARDENING INFO FROM DOUG – American Beauties Native Plants


My AMERICAN BEAUTIES NATIVE PLANT pick for May is …  ITEA virginica ‘HENRY’S GARNET’. You may know this plant by its common name – VIRGINIA SWEETSPIRE.

Are you familiar with the American Beauties Native Plants? We have been carrying this line of plants for a few years now. Each year the plants become more and more popular as people become more aware of the need to plant natives to support all our pollinators. And, people are coming to realize that native plants require less maintenance.

A little history on American Beauties Native Plants: This program of plants was started more than a decade ago. The goal was to spread awareness of the benefits of native plants and popularize the category to bolster the environment. The founders knew that garden centers were selling native plants throughout the country, but no one was telling the story of natives in a compelling way.  This line of native plants is very recognizable in their light, lime green pots that are well labeled. The labels are full of information.


Now, on to Virginia Sweetspire. I love this shrub. Sweetspire is a perfect shrub. It is native, deer resistant, and drought tolerant, a source of nectar for pollinators, and low maintenance. And, it has more than one attractive season. As a matter of fact, it has three seasons of interest. In late spring it is covered in a blanket of 6” long white sweetly scented “spires” (long white flowers) that last for several weeks. Then in the summer the foliage is spectacular. By fall, the leaves change from green to deep red, purple, orange, and yellow. Whew!!

Virginia sweetspire is a mounding, thickly branched, deciduous shrub with graceful arching branches. It provides nesting and shelter for wildlife as well as food for bees, butterflies, and moths. Sweetspire likes to be planted in sun to part shade. Also, it prefers moist, rich, slightly acidic composted soil. Sweetspire will eventually grow to be 3 to 4 feet tall and 5 to 6 feet wide. So, choose your location carefully knowing these dimensions. One thing that I will stress is to let it grow naturally and not to do any pruning.

I am very excited about this program. I love all the native plants. It was hard to just select one plant to highlight. So, don’t be too surprised if I decide to highlight another native plant.

Come see us and let us show you the AMERICAN BEAUTIES NATIVE PLANTS.


To read more from Doug, visit our blog

8 thoughts on “GARDENING INFO FROM DOUG – American Beauties Native Plants”

    • Kristin,
      Good Morning. Thank you for taking the time to send me this message. Yes, I love supporting native plants. The trend is growing and becoming more popular. Doug

  1. I have bought a number of American Beauties native plants and they have done well in my amended clay soil. It has become my go-to section of the store for plants.

    • Paula,
      Good Morning. Wonderful that you shared your thought on the American Beauties Native Plants. Like I said in my blog, I will pick another plant to highlight because I love this line of plants. take care, Doug

  2. I’m redoing my back yard. This plant sounds amazing. I have heard that you will come and plant some larger plants for me as well. What is your cost? I have put in a vinyl fence around my backyard and want it to look nice with some of your plants. I have spinal stenosis so unable to do much.

    • Carolyn,
      Good Morning.
      This plant is amazing. We, as a company, do not do any landscaping or planting. We outsource all customer requests to one company. When you are ready then come see us and we will help you get started. Take care, Doug

  3. Hi Doug,
    We are fairly new to Richmond so are always interested in hearing your gardening advice. Do you carry Obedient plant? Our soil (I am told it is bull tallow) doesn’t drain especially well. Do you think this might be an option for a sunny flower bed?

    • Peg,
      Good Morning. And, welcome to Richmond.
      We do carry the Obedient plant. Physostagia like to be planted in as much sun as possible and they like a very humus type soil that we stay moist longer in between waterings. I like Obedient plant and this, along with so many other hardy, sun-loving perennials, should do well for you. When you are ready please come visit us and let us show you what we have in perennials. Doug

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