Calycanthus x raulstonii (x Sinocalycanthus) ‘HARTLAGE WINE’

This easy to grow shrub has many names and all of them say something about the beautiful perfume of the flowers: sweetshrub, strawberry shrub, or even pineapple shrub. They really smell like a few types of fruit: strawberry, apple, and even melon. Sweetshrub is native to much of the eastern USA and even though one species is called (sino)calycanthus chinensis (= of China), recent molecular data indicates that it is more accurately suited for the genus calycanthus i.e. American group of calycanthus.
Hartlage Wine is an interspecific hybrid sweetshrub bred by Richard Hartlage in 1991, a former student of NC State University, USA. He managed to cross calycanthus floridus and sinocalycanthus chinensis. The result is a very floriferous deciduous shrub with quite large 6.9-8.5 cm across flowers. They are strongly scented just like its parents and come out in profusion in June and then sporadically until late summer. The outer tepals are wine red to greyed-purple, and the inner tepals formed in a crown, showing a creamy white margin. Deciduous leaves are broadly elliptic, acuminate, bright green and glossy, changing to yellow in autumn.
Sweetshrub comes from North American moist woodlands so it will require a moist (not wet) place in your garden, too. We suggest trimming it in the first few years to achieve a compact shape with regular habit which the plant can then keep without further care. Hardy to about -29°C (USDA zone 5).
Last update 12-02-2015; 12-11-2019

Sweetshrub ‘Hartlage Wine’

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Sweetshrub ‘Hartlage Wine’ is a shrub with deep burgundy flowers in late spring.

(George Weigel)

* Common name: Sweetshrub ‘Hartlage Wine’

* Botanical name: Calycanthus x raulstonii ‘Hartlage Wine’

* What it is: A mid-size flowering shrub that produces deep maroon, fruit-scented, peony-like flowers in late spring. Leaves are glossy green in summer, turning yellow in fall.

* Size: 6 to 8 feet tall and wide.

* Where to use: Best in part shade or dappled sunlight, such as woodlands, shade gardens and partly sunny borders. The rich flower color is eye-grabbing, so ‘Hartlage Wine’ carries its weight as a single specimen, at least when in bloom. Will tolerate full sun with good soil and adequate moisture.

* Care: Plant in rich, well drained soil and mulch with 2-3 inches of shredded bark. Soak weekly in droughts. Fertilizer usually not needed. If size-control pruning is needed, do it right after the plant finishes blooming in early summer.

* Great partner: Dark-leafed coralbells make a good planting around the base. Or surround with annual begonia ‘Dragon Wing Pink’ for color in summer to early fall after ‘Hartlage Wine’ finishes blooming.

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