How you can Plant, Develop, and Look after Spicebush

Spicebush, Lindera benzoin, also called northern spicebush or wild allspice, is a deciduous shrub that grows in wealthy, moist woodlands. Within the residence panorama, it’s an incredible selection for a local plant or shade backyard.

Spicebush supplies year-round landscaping enchantment. From spring flowers to fall foliage, summer season fruits, and winter construction, you possibly can get pleasure from this low-maintenance shrub in a shaded a part of your yard. As a flowering shrub, it is likely one of the first to bloom every spring, attracting early-season pollinators. And in case you get pleasure from rising vegetation with distinctive traits, the crushed leaves emit a pleasantly spicy scent. 

Spicebush is simple to look after and infrequently has any issues with pests or ailments. In its pure habitat, spicebush is a reasonably frequent plant, but it surely isn’t generally used for residence landscaping initiatives. For those who select to develop spicebush, you may be rising a stupendous, helpful, and attention-grabbing plant that provides tons of enchantment in moist or shady spots the place it may be arduous to search out appropriate vegetation.

In case you have the correct rising circumstances, spicebush is a wonderful addition to your native plant panorama. Let’s study extra about this distinctive and attention-grabbing shrub.

Spicebush Plant Overview

A close-up of tiny, umbel-like greenish-yellow flowers, adding an exquisite touch to the Spicebush plant. In the background, other brown branches and logs create a natural setting, while green grasses on the ground complete the picturesque scene.

Plant Kind

Deciduous shrub

Native Space

Central United States, Jap United States, Jap Canada

USDA Hardiness Zone

4 – 9

Solar Publicity

Full solar to partial shade

Soil Kind

Common high quality to sandy loam, well-drained

Prompt Makes use of

Shade backyard, pollinator backyard, native backyard, rain backyard

Bloom Season

Early spring


Birds, butterflies, pollinators

Resistant To

Deer, moist soil, heavy shade, pests and ailments

Plant Spacing

6 – 12 ft

Pure Historical past

A close-up of Spicebush plant. Vibrant red berries dangle gracefully from its branches, contrasting with the rich green leaves. The lush backdrop showcases the thriving ecosystem where Spicebush is carefully planted and nurtured.
Valued for its function as a wildlife meals plant, spicebush kinds non-aggressive thickets.

Spicebush is native to the central and jap United States and jap Canada. It lives in wealthy, moist forests, in bottomlands, alongside stream banks, and in woodland ravines. This species sometimes grows in mature woodlands and areas with low disturbance.

Spicebush has many makes use of and might be readily included into a house panorama. It’s a priceless wildlife meals plant with necessary contributions to the pure surroundings. It might probably type thickets, though it doesn’t develop aggressively. People have additionally used spicebush. It has aromatic leaves and berries that can be utilized in scented natural and floral mixes. 

There are a number of different species of spicebush, native to totally different areas and international locations. One can find that all of them have related necessities, qualities, and traits. 


A close-up of Spicebush branches with intricate beauty of the tiny, umbel-like, greenish-yellow blooms. Each delicate flower contributes to the overall allure of the Spicebush plant.
In early spring, small yellowish-green flowers emerge alongside the naked stems.

Spicebush is a medium-sized perennial deciduous shrub. It’s comparatively slow-growing and may develop as much as 15 ft tall, though it typically stays smaller. Shrubs grown with larger solar publicity have a extra dense and bushy type, whereas shrubs grown in heavy shade are likely to develop fewer branches. These shrubs aren’t very closely or densely branched.

The leaves are smooth-edged, rectangular, and oval-shaped with gently pointed ends. The leaves are shiny inexperienced throughout the rising season and emit a spicy aroma when crushed. In fall, the spicebush leaves flip shiny yellow for an interesting autumn show

Small yellowish-green flowers develop alongside the naked stems earlier than leaves emerge in early spring. By late summer season, small, oval, shiny crimson berry-like drupes add a burst of coloration. Spicebush is dioecious, which means there are separate female and male vegetation, and also you want each for cross-pollination and for the feminine vegetation to supply fruits.


Spicebush might be propagated by seeds or by softwood cuttings. These aren’t the best vegetation to develop from both, however it may be carried out with a little bit of persistence and energy. Don’t dig native vegetation from their pure environments. As a substitute, go for cuttings or seeds from buddies’ gardens, or supply them from native plant nurseries. 


A close-up of Spicebush captures the elegance of red berries hanging on its branches, harmonizing with the yellowish leaves. In the blurred background, a tapestry of greenery further enhances the botanical composition.
Harvest absolutely crimson and mature spicebush drupes to gather seeds.

The intense crimson berry-like drupes include seeds. If you wish to develop spicebush from seed, harvest just a few of those drupes late within the season when they’re absolutely crimson and mature. The interior seeds shouldn’t be allowed to dry out, or they shortly lose viability.

Place the freshly collected drupes in a small bag with moist soil and refrigerate them for about 4 months to cold-stratify them. Then, sow the seeds in heat, moist soil, sustaining moisture till they germinate. You can even attempt winter-sowing to imitate the pure winterization of the wild vegetation.

Softwood Cuttings

A close-up focuses on a large green container filled with brown soil, housing stem cuttings with small leaves. The thriving greenery in the background includes other potted plants, creating a visual symphony of growth and cultivation.
Profitable rooting is indicated by recent development on the prime of the stem chopping.

The best strategy to propagate spicebush is by taking cuttings. Take softwood cuttings throughout springtime utilizing clear, sharp pruners. Take a 4 to six-inch part of latest woody development. Take away any buds or leaf development from the decrease half of the stem. Dip that half in rooting hormone and plant it in recent, clear, moist soil.

Preserve the soil moist whilst you’re ready to your chopping to take root. Once you begin to see recent development on the tops, that’s a great signal that your chopping was profitable


A close-up of small seedlings. The delicate seedlings exhibit tender green shoots emerging from tiny seeds, thriving in nutrient-rich brown soil. This vibrant microcosm of growth is encapsulated within the confines of a brown box.
Keep moist soil across the new plant for the preliminary weeks to assist its adjustment.

In case you have a potted spicebush, both bought from a nursery or your individual propagation method, you will have to transplant it into its everlasting location in your panorama. One of the best time to transplant is throughout spring or fall. Select a cool, overcast day to your transplanting venture

Choose a perfect location based mostly on the plant’s wants for daylight, soil, and water. Put together the transplanting web site by digging a gap barely bigger than the rootball of your potted plant. Gently take away the plant from its pot and switch it into the ready gap. Refill any gaps across the edges with recent soil.

Lastly, give your newly transplanted spicebush a radical watering to assist it settle in. Make sure the soil round your new plant stays moist for the primary few weeks.

How you can Develop

Spicebush could be very straightforward to develop in a moist, barely shaded location. As soon as yours is planted and established, it needs to be fairly trouble-free and can present a few years of magnificence in your panorama. Simply ensure to put it in a location that meets its most well-liked wants for daylight and moisture.


A close-up of branches of Spicebush. The slender branches showcase the intricate network of veins and foliage, exuding a lively green hue. Adorning these branches are tiny, umbel-like, greenish-yellow blooms, adding a burst of color and texture to the Spicebush landscape.
Vegetation in full shade could develop slower than these receiving partial daylight.

Spicebush does finest in partial shade, receiving between two and 6 hours of direct daylight each day. These vegetation additionally tolerate full shade however develop with much less vigor than those who obtain some daylight every day. Dappled shade and afternoon shade are finest.


A close-up of flowers of Korean Spicebush. Delicate, tiny, umbel-like, greenish-yellow blooms grace the branch, forming a mesmerizing floral arrangement. Each bloom is intricately attached to the branch, contributing to the overall visual splendor of the Korean Spicebush in full bloom.
Spicebush can face up to occasional flooding and quick durations of drought.

Your plant wants medium moisture soil and performs finest if it doesn’t dry out. It might probably tolerate periodic flooding and really transient durations of drought. Constant soil moisture is most necessary when vegetation are younger.


A close-up of hands holding dark rich soil. The hands of the gardener cradle the dark, nutrient-dense soil, telling tales of labor and cultivation. This fertile earth, clinging to the gardener's hands, originates from a sizable container, subtly blurred in the background.
This plant usually subsists in well-drained soil of common high quality.

The soil needs to be of common high quality and capable of maintain some water. Spicebush appreciates well-drained soil however isn’t too choosy about soil high quality. It tolerates heavy clay soils with ease. 

Local weather and Temperature 

A close-up of branches of Spicebush. Against the backdrop of a clear blue sky, the branches reveal the intricate beauty of the Spicebush. Tiny, umbel-like, greenish-yellow blooms adorn the branches, creating a harmonious blend of nature against the serene azure canvas.
For optimum development, plant these shrubs in shaded areas or protected woodlands.

Develop spicebush in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 4 – 9. These shrubs don’t do properly in extreme warmth and like the coolness of a shaded space or protected woodland.  


A close-up of a Spicebush branches at sunset. The branch is thin and sturdy, with dark brown bark, backlit by the setting sun. There are several buds on the branch, and some of them are already starting to open.
Rising your spicebush in common to wealthy soil eliminates the necessity for fertilization.

You received’t want to fret about fertilizing your spicebush plant. In case you are rising it in average-quality to wealthy soil, it ought to carry out very properly without having further vitamins. The truth is, further vitamins can scale back the vigor of the plant general.


A farmer expertly wields pruning shears to trim branches. The branches, adorned with yellowish leaves, are carefully selected for pruning. Warm sunlight bathes the scene, casting a golden glow reminiscent of a tranquil afternoon.
To retain soil moisture, contemplate mulching across the plant’s base.

Spicebush is a really low-maintenance plant. Prune off any useless or damaged branches as wanted. Mulch across the base of the plant to protect soil moisture. Use pure and biodegradable leaf mulch, compost mulch, or wooden chip mulch, which decomposes and enriches the soil. 

Backyard Design

Spicebush plants showcase intricate branches with tiny, umbel-like, greenish-yellow blooms. In the background, brown lush branches complement the detailed foreground, creating a harmonious botanical composition with elements of both delicacy and vitality.
This plant is a priceless addition to wildlife-friendly gardens, complementing different shade-loving natives.

Spicebush isn’t the right plant for all backyard settings, but it surely’s an incredible selection for some initiatives. One of the necessary issues to recollect when selecting spicebush to your panorama is that it likes moist soil and a little bit of shade.

Do you’ve gotten a considerably boggy, wooded space? Place spicebush underneath the shade of some bigger timber. Does your property border a wetland, or do you’ve gotten a low spot that’s constantly moist? Spicebush is a wonderful plant for a wetland or rain backyard. Do you need to develop native vegetation and assist a wide range of pollinators? Spicebush is a priceless addition to a wildlife-friendly backyard, and it matches in properly with different shade-loving native vegetation.  

Use spicebush in a hedge with different flowering shrubs. Plant it alongside a woodland edge or a property line. Don’t plant spicebush amongst different aggressively rising shrubs or vines as a result of it’s simply out-competed. As a substitute, develop just a few in a cluster separate from different, bigger shrubs to actually admire their distinctive and delicate contributions to your panorama design. 


Southern Spicebush, Lindera melissifolia

Southern Spicebush features a prominent berry atop vibrant leaves on a well-defined branch. The leaves exhibit a rich texture and color, while the blurred background hints at a lush greenery, creating a captivating contrast in focus.
This shrub wants moist habitats, similar to periodically flooded areas.

Southern spicebush, or pondberry, is a smaller shrub native to the southeastern United States. It grows in moist habitats, on the perimeters of waterways and in areas which might be flooded often. It spreads by root suckers to type colonies.

Within the springtime,  bunches of yellow flowers bloom alongside the woody stems, and by late summer season, shiny crimson fruits develop, attracting birds and different small wildlife. Southern spicebush prefers hotter climates and is hardy in USDA Zones 7 – 9.

Slim-Leaf Spicebush, Lindera angustifolia

The Narrow-leaf Spicebush reveals elegantly branching stems adorned with lush, reddish leaves. In the backdrop, towering trees with green foliage add depth, emphasizing the smaller plant's intricate details. Lush greenery further enriches the overall visual narrative.
Narrowleaf spicebush reaches a peak of seven to 10 ft and prefers sandy, well-drained soil.

This spicebush is a big shrub native to China and Korea. It grows seven to 10 ft tall and prefers sandy, moist, well-drained soil. Slim-leaf spicebush is hardy in USDA Zones 6 – 8. This species is appreciated for its dazzling orange, crimson, and purple-bronze fall foliage that persists into the winter months

Japanese Spicebush, Lindera obtusiloba

A close-up of a Japanese Spicebush branch showcasing vibrant blooms. The yellow blossoms add a lively touch to the wooden branches, creating a harmonious display. Dark green backdrop enhances the overall visual appeal.
Feminine vegetation produce small, darkish burgundy-red to black fruits after flowering.

The Japanese spicebush is a showy shrub that’s native to Asia. It grows 10 to twenty ft tall and does properly in USDA Zones 6 – 9. In early spring, this species develops dense clusters of golden yellow flowers alongside the stems, adopted by small, darkish burgundy-red to black fruits on feminine vegetation. The leaves flip a beautiful yellow-orange in fall.

Pink-Fruit Spicebush, Lindera erythrocarpa

A close-up of a Red-fruit Spicebush branch adorned with small green blooms. The delicate, finely textured leaves complement the greenery, providing a beautiful contrast. The intricate design of nature unfolds as sunlight highlights the nuances of this botanical composition.
Native to Asia, the red-fruit spicebush is ideally cultivated in moist, well-drained soils.

The red-fruit spicebush is a big shrub or small tree native to Asia. This plant is finest grown in moist, well-drained soils in USDA Zones 6 – 8. It has comparatively massive leaves that flip sensible yellow in fall. It blooms in spring, adopted by bronze-red berries. 

Asian Spicebush, Lindera glauca var. salicifolia

A close-up of an Asian Spicebush, featuring lush red leaves that gracefully adorn slender stems and branches. Bathed in sunlight, the vibrant red hues create a striking visual spectacle. This botanical beauty stands out against a backdrop of green foliage, showcasing nature's vivid palette.
Excellent for privateness hedges, this selection options a number of sturdy trunks.

Asian spicebush is a medium to massive deciduous shrub native to components of Asia. It grows 4 to 10 ft tall and is hardy in USDA Zones 5 – 9. This spicebush species develops a number of thick trunks and make a wonderful privateness hedge. The massive leaves flip stunning shades of orange, crimson, and purple throughout the fall months and persist on the plant properly into the winter. 

Wildlife Worth

A close-up of a Spicebush swallowtail butterfly, showcasing its intricate patterns and delicate wings. The butterfly elegantly rests on yellow blooms, adding a touch of nature's ballet to the scene. Green leaves provide a fresh and lively background, completing this enchanting composition.
Spicebush serves properly in a wildlife backyard, notably for butterflies.

This shrub is superb for a wildlife backyard and particularly for a butterfly-friendly habitat. It’s the larval host plant for the Palamedes swallowtail butterfly and the spicebush swallowtail butterfly.

The flowers bloom very early within the 12 months, attracting any early-season pollinators that could be round. By late summer season and fall, the small crimson fruits entice birds and different foraging wildlife. 

Widespread Issues

Spicebush is a reasonably trouble-free plant, and you shouldn’t sometimes have any issues with it. It’s a member of the Laurel household, and these vegetation are all inclined to laurel wilt illness. Laurel wilt is brought on by a fungus (Raffaelea lauricola) and transmitted by way of contaminated redbay ambrosia beetles. 

Laurel Wilt 

A close-up of a tree branch afflicted by pests, displaying brown discoloration and evident holes on the inside. The stark contrast between the damaged branch and the healthy green leaves in the background illustrates the impact of the infestation on the surrounding plant life.
Shrubs severely affected by the an infection sometimes die inside just a few months.

Look ahead to tiny holes on the bark of an contaminated shrub with skinny rods of toothpick-like ‘frass’ extending from the outlet’s opening. Leaves of contaminated shrubs flip reddish or bronze-brown coloration and wilt. A badly contaminated plant sometimes dies inside just a few months. 

Sadly, there isn’t something to be carried out for an contaminated shrub aside from to attempt to cease the unfold. In case your spicebush appears to mysteriously wilt and die out of the blue and you believe you studied laurel wilt, reduce it down, reduce it into smaller items, and bury the contaminated tree components to forestall unfold to different timber or different areas.

Continuously Requested Questions

You received’t sometimes discover spicebush on the native backyard middle. Examine along with your native or regional botanical backyard, arboretum, or native plant society to acquire a listing of outlets specializing in native vegetation. You might also discover specialty greenhouses and nurseries focusing on rising native vegetation and have an attention-grabbing assortment of native shrubs, timber, and wildflowers on the market.

For those who begin a spicebush plant from seed, it takes three or 4 years to start out flowering. For those who transplanted a greenhouse-grown plant, it possible begins to flower the next 12 months or two after transplanting into your yard. Pay shut consideration in early spring, earlier than the leaves even emerge, to catch sight of the gorgeous yellow flowers!

You want not less than two spicebush vegetation to supply fruit. It’s because you want each a male plant and a feminine plant for cross-pollination. Solely the feminine plant produces the fruit. You’ll want the male plant for cross-pollination. Each vegetation have wonderful landscaping worth, nonetheless, producing yellow flowers within the spring and a showy show of yellow fall foliage.

Closing Ideas

Are you prepared so as to add a spicebush shrub to your backyard? In case you have a shaded location with constantly moist soil, spicebush is a superb selection. This plant is a really worthwhile addition to a wildlife backyard or rain backyard. Are you trying so as to add one thing easy-to-grow and low-maintenance, but additionally a bit uncommon to your shade backyard? Develop a spicebush and revel in its gorgeous attributes, from early spring flowers to late fall foliage and fruits.

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