Hello. My name is Steve King from Hillsboro, Missouri. I am the webmaster of ExtremeSwings.com, amongst various other fun-themed websites. This page was made so others wouldn't have to search forever like we did. My wife and I had spent an entire month (or more) trying to locate the best full shade shrub (bush) for a very shady place in the rear of our backyard to act as a living border fence. We already have a 6 ft. white vinyl fence along both sides of our house extending back into the woods, but didn't fence the rear due to the fact that we like to see the nature. So, what we were seeking would need to act as a border bush and tolerate very little sun. We had already made a huge mistake the year prior with the advice from an online retailer by planting Japanese Barberry shrubs along that same border for them only to die or not grow at all. Determined to get it right the second time around, we decided to do our homework and research long and hard. After a handful of contenders stemming from hyrangea's to boxwoods to the Japanese Acuba (which was slighty out of our zone) to the Manhattan Euonymus to the Oregon Grape Holly, we decided on the Carolina Allspice. Though a bit tricky to find 18 of them in the St. Louis, Missouri area, we were able to track down 10 from Bayer's Nursery in Imperial and 8 others from Greenscape Nursery in Ballwin. The only other nursery that had them was Eureka nursery. We had gotten a mix of 2 gallon and 5 gallon plants since that is all that was available from the two nursery's that we went to. Let me say that as of July, 2007, it has been 3 months and we couldn't be happier! They are thriving beautifully.
Carolina Allspice (a.k.a. Sweetshrub - zones 4 through 9) is a dense, rounded deciduous shrub with a suckering habit which grows 4-9' (depending on pruning) tall with an equal or slightly greater spread. It is fast growing plant and features very fragrant, brown to reddish-brown flowers (2" across) which bloom at the ends of short branch lets in May. Flowers give way to brownish, urn-shaped fruits (seed capsules) which mature in fall and persist throughout the winter. Lustrous, dark green (pale beneath), ovate to elliptic leaves to 6" long turn golden yellow in fall. Leaves are aromatic when bruised. Also commonly called sweet shrub and strawberry bush in reference to the fragrant blooms which have been described as combining hints of pineapple, strawberry and banana. Sweet scented purple-brown flowers; resistant to disease and insect damage; makes excellent border shrub; adapts to many soil types (however, we try to keep our soil semi-moist); easily transplanted and toxic to cows.
Topic Discussions: There is a lot of shade shrub talk here.
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