Sweet Betsy, Sweetshrub, Carolina allspice, this plant has many common names and is an erect to rounded deciduous native shrub. It is found in the southeast growing in shady woodlands and along stream banks. It grows 6-12' tall with an equal or slightly greater spread. It is commonly called sweetshrub and strawberry bush in reference to the showy fragrant blooms which have been described as combining hints of pineapple, strawberry, and banana. The aroma is stronger in higher temperatures and it is best to purchase the plant in flower as the fragrances do vary so widely. The scientific name derives from the Greek words kaylx which means calyx and anthos which means flowers.
Sweetshrub grows best in average to rich, well-drained soil in anywhere from full sun to deep shade.
Prune immediately after flowering to shape or maintain compactness. It has a suckering habit meaning those suckering branches need to be maintained unless you want this plant to naturalize in your landscape. Prune the plant to shape immediately after flowering as the flowers are produced on last year's wood. Propagate this plant by seed or plant up the rooted suckers.
It can tolerate brief periods of flooding, but it struggles in sandy soil and drought conditions. It withstands cold and heat, insect and disease pests, fire, and deer browsing. Plant it as a specimen or near a patio or walkway to enjoy its fragrance. Its form makes for a good screen or privacy hedge or plant it in the back of a shrub border or in a foundation planting. Consider this native in your cutting, sensory, or woodland garden.