Spicebush

Read on for tips on growing these starry-shaped flowers.

Plant type: deciduous shrub
Hardiness: USDA Zones 4 to 9

Spicebush is an early-blooming native shrub that bears greenish-yellow flowers in very early spring before the leaves emerge. Although the individual flowers are tiny (1/5 inch), they're carried in clusters and produced in abundance, so the overall effect is quite attractive, especially in early spring when few other plants are blooming. The light green leaves, which appear shortly after the flowers, are quite aromatic—rub a leaf between your fingers to release the fragrance. In addition to the leaves, the twigs, bark, and red fruit of spicebush have been used in herbal tonics and to flavor foods and beverages. Plants range from six to 12 feet tall and spread to 10 feet or more. Spicebush foliage turns rich yellow in fall. As an added bonus, the leaves are the preferred food of the larvae of spicebush swallowtail butterflies, so the plants make great additions to butterfly gardens.

Cultivation: Ideally, give spicebush a spot with rich, moist soil that is well drained and site them in full sun to partial shade, although plants also will grow in full shade. Prune, as necessary, immediately after flowering.

How to use it: Plant spicebush along the edges of woodlands, in shrub borders, and in naturalized areas.

Next Up

Plant of the Day: Drooping Leucothoe

This HGTV Flower of the Day is favorited for its graceful, fountain-like form and leaves that become mottled cream and pink in winter.

Hand-me-down Plants

Viewers and readers share stories of plants that hold a special place in their gardens -- and in their hearts.

15 Fascinating Facts About Rose Fragrance

This flower's powerful fragrance is one of the most costly scents in the world.

How to Choose, Plant and Grow Flowering Shrubs

Flowering shrubs provide multi-season interest. Learn how to add them to your garden with these tips.

How to Plant and Care for Lilacs

Learn why the old-fashioned lilac is now popular among modern-day gardeners.

Plant a Shady Border

Some of the most beautiful shrubs grow well only in low light conditions. Here's how to create a colorful planting bed with shrubs and underplanted perennials.

Gardenia

Tips on why using the right soil is essential for gardenias to flourish.

English Lavender

English lavender is valued for its fragrance, color and texture.

Sage

Sage offers exciting spiky blooms in a veritable rainbow of colors.

Salvia clevelandii

Discover a California native that puts on a fragrant flower show.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.