Itea virginica ‘Sprich’, aka Little Henry, is a small shrub that offers several seasons of interest. Adding it to a rock garden containing larger plants would be a perfect place for it. Alternatively it can make a nice addition to the front of a perennial bed. Since it can take quite heavy shade it also works well in a shade garden, next to your favorite hosta. It will look its best with at least 6 hours of sun.
It blooms in early summer on old wood producing a unique flower scape that is extremely fragrant. It then has nice, shiny, light green leaves for the rest of the summer, until it’s leaves turns vibrant burgundy red in fall.
Itea virginica goes by the common name Virginia sweetspire which refers to its long flower scape and fragrance. It is also known as the Virginia willow. Little Henry is the trademarked name for this miniature version of the species. It prefers wet conditions, but will adapt to dry gardens. It does sucker a small amount but it is both deer and disease resistant.
Itea virginica Little Henry
Life Cycle: shrub
Height: 60cm (2 ft)
Bloom Time: early summer
Natural Range: New Jersey to eastern Texas, south to South Carolina, for the species
Habitat: wet, wooded stream banks; swamps; low pine barrens
Cultivation of Itea virginica Little Henry
Light: full sun to shade
Soil: humusy soil
Water: wet preferred but will grow dry
USDA Hardiness Zone: 5 – 9
Propagation: division and cuttings