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Monday, November 19, 2012

Itea virginica, A Perfect Autumn Partner

Layanee at Ledge and Garden has asked "What plant in your garden has gotten your attention recently?" It is definitely Itea virginica. Just look at that color! It's a spectacular mixture of yellow, orange, crimson and maroon.
I think Iteas might be one of the best native shrubs for Zone 5 and warmer gardens. I think of it as a four season planting, but, it really shines in early summer when the lightly scented flowers are abuzz with bees and fall when it is a technicolor beauty.

It partners so well with many perennials, grasses and other shrubs.  One of my favorite pairings is with one of the floppier Switchgrasses (above).  I like how the golden grass blades gently bend over the fall colored leaves of the Sweetspire. 
Mid-October Itea virginica 'Merlot'
Itea virginica is also stunning partnered with a cobalt blue pot.


Or,  planted in one! 


I'm hoping that this new partnership~ cultivar 'Little Henry' and Korean mum 'Ryan's yellow'~ continue to work well together.
Fall 2009 witchhazel and Sweetspire
Itea virginica is a beautiful stand alone shrub and in the right spot will colonize and make a stunning year round display, but, each fall when I see it dancing with the golden grasses or complimenting the  witch hazels, I know that pairing this plant with a good partner doubles the pleasure.

xoxogail


Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.

30 comments:

  1. It's a beauty, Gail, and seems to play well with all the beauties in your garden!
    xoxoxo
    Frances

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    1. Thank you...they don't colonize here as much as they might in a moister garden, but even if they did, I wouldn't mind a bit.

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  2. The Iteas and their companions are stunning! I've not had good luck growing them here so I'll enjoy yours from afar!

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    1. They do like moisture~Do you have a spot like that in the garden?

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  3. And now I am wondering why I do not have an Itea...yet! I love your dancing partners. Thanks for the link love.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, they would love your garden and you could let them colonize to their hearts content.

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  4. They are beautiful together and make great waltzing companions. I may need an Itea myself. Now, where shall I put it?~~Dee

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    1. They will be pretty where ever! Although, they are not xeric.

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  5. I'm with Cindy. I failed at growing an itea myself, but yours looks beautiful!

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    1. Oh, no...try again! I find the best success when I plant them in late fall and they get winter rain watered.

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  6. I love Itea for the reasons you have mentioned. I would add that it can be a bit on the vigorous side if its really happy.

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    1. Yes, they can be thuggish in rich moist soil~So not a problem here.

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  7. Itea Little Henry is one of the most adaptable plants I have ever planted. Wet, dry, sun, shade, it can't be beat. And yet I do not have one...whats wrong with me? he eh

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    1. I am very fond of most of the cultivars...Little Henry is a cutie pie for sure. So will you plant one now?

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  8. They are all beautiful, but i guess they are lovelier in your photos than when in wide angle landscapes. They fit perfectly with your blue planter. Those grasses might be good for your climate, but they are not planted in gardens in our tropics, or else they will bring chaos next time.

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    1. I know what you mean about some plants looking better close up! There are grasses that also take over here...like Miscanthus~I am still digging up the offspring.

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  9. I love Iteas, have some in my garden. They are pretty small still, hoping this coming year they will fill out more.

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    1. They will! Soon you will be able to spread them about since they colonize when happy.

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  10. Your Itea has great colour, and I particularly like it with the cobalt blue paltner. It makes a nice texture contrast with the switchgrass, too.

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    1. Thank you! Isn't Switchgrass wonderful! I have several different cultivars, but for this planting the floppy blades are best

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  11. Oh, it really does look good with the blue pots--and with the golden grasses. I'll have to try these combinations in my garden.

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    1. Thank you Leslie, cobalt pots are "cash" to quote a good friend!

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  12. The foliage is beautiful. I tried growing some of the variety 'Little Henry' in containers but that was not successful. Will have to try this plant again.

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  13. Itea does have a fantastic blend of colors! It grows wild here and I always enjoy seeing its psychadelic show in unexpected places.

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  14. I can see why it's capturing your attention. Exactly the type of shrub I appreciate. Thanks for the recommendation. I'm making a list now...

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  15. Gail I adore this plant in my white garden in fall as it has a special place with its stunning foliage.

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  16. I have one small 'Little Henry,' and I also love its fall color. But mine is planted next to the house's foundation; seeing how good your 'Henry' looks next to other shrubs and plants, I think I might have to add another. Love yours with the grasses!

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  17. I did not realize Sweetspire had such nice autumn foliage. Thanks for the post! It does look well with the grasses.

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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