Sweet Pepperbush (Clethra Alnifolia ‘Sotite’ WHITE DOVE)

Plant: Table of Contents

Sweet Pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia ‘Sotite’ WHITE DOVE)


The sweet pepperbush, scientifically known as Clethra alnifolia ‘Sotite’ and popularly called WHITE DOVE, is a captivating deciduous shrub native to North America. It is renowned for its sweet fragrance, attractive white flowers, and its ability to thrive in various environmental conditions. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the culture, uses, maintenance, and benefits of the sweet pepperbush. Whether you are an avid gardener, landscape designer, or simply interested in learning about this fascinating plant, you will find valuable insights and practical tips to enhance your gardening experience.

Key Takeaways

In this blog, we will delve into the following key aspects of the sweet pepperbush:

  1. Clethra alnifolia ‘Sotite’ WHITE DOVE
  2. Sweet Pepperbush varieties
  3. Clethra alnifolia cultivars
  4. White Dove Clethra alnifolia
  5. Sweet Pepperbush plant facts
  6. Clethra alnifolia benefits
  7. White flowering shrubs
  8. Fragrant plants for gardens
  9. Native North American shrubs
  10. Clethra alnifolia ‘Sotite’ characteristics
  11. Growing Sweet Pepperbush
  12. Clethra alnifolia ‘Sotite’ care tips
  13. White flowering shrubs for landscaping
  14. Fragrant plants for backyard
  15. Clethra alnifolia ‘Sotite’ pruning guide
  16. Sweet Pepperbush varieties for pollinators
  17. Clethra alnifolia ‘Sotite’ water requirements
  18. Best shrubs for attracting butterflies
  19. White Dove Clethra alnifolia planting guide
  20. Native shrubs for wildlife gardens
  21. Clethra alnifolia ‘Sotite’ disease resistance
  22. Sweet Pepperbush for shade gardens
  23. Clethra alnifolia ‘Sotite’ sun requirements
  24. Fragrant flowering shrubs for hedge
  25. White Dove Clethra alnifolia landscape uses
  26. Low maintenance shrubs for urban gardens
  27. Clethra alnifolia ‘Sotite’ soil preferences
  28. Sweet Pepperbush companion plants
  29. Clethra alnifolia ‘Sotite’ fall foliage color
  30. White flowering shrubs for privacy screens
  31. Fragrant plants for attracting bees
  32. Clethra alnifolia ‘Sotite’ winter hardiness
  33. Sweet Pepperbush container gardening
  34. Clethra alnifolia ‘Sotite’ wildlife habitat benefits
  35. White Dove Clethra alnifolia drought tolerance
  36. Native shrubs for coastal gardens
  37. Clethra alnifolia ‘Sotite’ landscape design
  38. Sweet Pepperbush for wetland restoration
  39. Clethra alnifolia ‘Sotite’ pruning techniques
  40. Fragrant plants for sensory gardens
  41. White flowering shrubs for cottage gardens
  42. Clethra alnifolia ‘Sotite’ pest management
  43. Sweet Pepperbush for erosion control
  44. Clethra alnifolia ‘Sotite’ winter care tips
  45. White Dove Clethra alnifolia naturalizing
  46. Native shrubs for rain gardens
  47. Clethra alnifolia ‘Sotite’ landscape uses
  48. Fragrant plants for moonlight gardens
  49. White flowering shrubs for foundation plantings
  50. Clethra alnifolia ‘Sotite’ medicinal uses

What is Sweet Pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia ‘Sotite’ WHITE DOVE)?

Sweet pepperbush, Clethra alnifolia ‘Sotite’ WHITE DOVE, is a stunning deciduous shrub that belongs to the Clethraceae family. It is commonly found in the eastern United States and southeastern Canada, where it thrives in moist woodlands, along stream banks, and in swampy areas. This versatile plant is well-suited for various landscape applications, including woodland gardens, bog gardens, and naturalized areas. The sweet pepperbush is known for its exquisite white flowers, which emit a pleasant fragrance that attracts pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

Plant Characteristics

The sweet pepperbush exhibits several notable characteristics that make it a desirable addition to gardens and natural habitats:

  • Scientific Name: Clethra alnifolia ‘Sotite’ WHITE DOVE
  • Common Name: Sweet Pepperbush
  • Family: Clethraceae
  • Variety: WHITE DOVE
  • Type: Deciduous Shrub
  • Height: 4-8 feet
  • Spread: 3-6 feet
  • Flower Color: White
  • Flowering Period: Mid to Late Summer
  • Fragrance: Sweet and Pleasant


Understanding the cultural requirements of the sweet pepperbush is essential for successfully cultivating and maintaining this charming shrub. From its preferred soil conditions to its water and sunlight needs, each aspect contributes to the overall health and vigor of the plant.


The sweet pepperbush offers a range of uses, making it a versatile and valuable addition to diverse environments. Its key uses include:

  • Garden Borders: The sweet pepperbush is ideal for creating natural garden borders, especially in areas with partial shade and moist soil.
  • Wildlife Habitat: It provides shelter and forage for wildlife, including birds, bees, and butterflies.
  • Naturalized Landscapes: Its graceful appearance and fragrance make it an excellent choice for naturalized landscapes and woodland gardens.
  • Erosion Control: The deep root system helps stabilize soil and prevent erosion along water bodies and slopes.


The sweet pepperbush thrives in moist to wet soil conditions and is well-suited for areas with periodic flooding. While it tolerates occasional drought once established, it prefers consistently moist soil, especially during the active growing season. Adequate moisture is crucial for the plant’s health and flowering performance.

  • Watering Frequency: Regular watering, especially during dry spells and hot weather, is essential to keep the soil consistently moist.
  • Soil Moisture: Well-draining, fertile soil with good water retention properties is ideal for promoting healthy growth.
  • Avoid Waterlogging: While the plant tolerates wet conditions, prolonged waterlogging should be avoided to prevent root rot.


The sweet pepperbush thrives in a variety of light conditions, making it adaptable to different garden settings. Understanding its sunlight requirements is crucial for determining the best location for planting.

  • Optimal Light: Partial shade to full sun. The plant can tolerate both shade and sun, but performs best in partial shade where it receives filtered sunlight.
  • Morning Sun: A location with morning sun and afternoon shade is ideal for promoting abundant flowering and overall vigor.
  • Sun Exposure: Protect the plant from intense midday sun, especially in warmer climates, to prevent leaf scorch.


Proper fertilization can enhance the growth and blooming of the sweet pepperbush, ensuring it maintains its vigor and floral abundance.

  • Fertilizer Type: Use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer formulated for flowering shrubs. Avoid high-nitrogen fertilizers to prevent excessive vegetative growth at the expense of flowers.
  • Application Time: Apply fertilizer in early spring before the new growth emerges to support the plant’s nutrient requirements during the active growing season.
  • Quantity: Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the appropriate dosage based on the shrub’s size and age.


The sweet pepperbush has specific soil preferences that contribute to its overall health and performance. Understanding its soil requirements is crucial for creating an environment where the plant can thrive.

  • Soil Type: Moist, well-draining soil rich in organic matter. A loamy or sandy soil texture is suitable for the sweet pepperbush, as long as it retains sufficient moisture.
  • pH Range: Slightly acidic to neutral soil pH. Aim for a pH range of 5.0-6.5 to provide an optimal growing environment for the plant.
  • Soil Amendments: Incorporating organic compost and mulch around the base of the shrub can improve soil structure and fertility, promoting healthy growth.


Proper pruning is essential for maintaining the sweet pepperbush’s shape, controlling its size, and promoting robust flowering. The following guidelines will help you effectively prune your sweet pepperbush:

  • Pruning Time: Late winter or early spring is the best time to prune the sweet pepperbush before new growth begins.
  • Dead Wood Removal: Trim away any dead, damaged, or diseased branches to enhance the plant’s appearance and overall health.
  • Thinning: Periodically thin out older branches to encourage new growth and maintain an open, airy habit.
  • Deadheading: Remove spent flowers after the blooming period to stimulate the development of new flower buds for the following season.


Propagating the sweet pepperbush allows you to expand your plant collection and share its beauty with others. Here are some methods for propagating Clethra alnifolia ‘Sotite’ WHITE DOVE:

  • Softwood Cuttings: Take softwood cuttings in early summer, dip the ends in a rooting hormone, and root them in a sterile, well-draining propagation medium.
  • Division: Divide mature clumps in early spring, ensuring that each division has a healthy portion of roots and shoots to establish as a new plant.
  • Layering: Encourage low branches to root by gently bending them to the ground, covering a portion with soil, and waiting for them to produce roots. Once rooted, the new plant can be separated and transplanted.

Container Popularity

The sweet pepperbush is gaining popularity as a container plant due to its compact size, attractive foliage, and fragrant flowers. Cultivating this shrub in a container allows for greater flexibility in placement and provides an opportunity for those with limited garden space to enjoy its beauty.

Container Common Diseases

When growing sweet pepperbush in containers, it is important to be mindful of potential diseases that may affect the plant. Common diseases that can impact container-grown sweet pepperbush include:

  • Powdery Mildew: A fungal disease that manifests as powdery white spots on the leaves and stems, often caused by poor air circulation and high humidity.
  • Leaf Spot: Various fungal pathogens can cause dark spots and lesions on the leaves, potentially leading to defoliation if left unchecked.

Disease Diagnosis

Early detection and prompt treatment are essential for managing and preventing the spread of diseases in container-grown sweet pepperbush. If you observe any signs of disease, such as unusual spots, discoloration, or wilting, take the following steps:

  • Isolate Affected Plants: Move the affected plant away from healthy ones to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Identify the Disease: Consult gardening resources or seek advice from local horticultural experts to accurately identify the specific disease affecting your sweet pepperbush.
  • Treatment: Depending on the diagnosis, appropriate measures such as fungicidal sprays or cultural practices may be implemented to manage the disease and prevent its recurrence.

Common Pests

While the sweet pepperbush is relatively resistant to pests, occasional pest issues may arise, particularly when the plant is stressed or growing under unfavorable conditions. Understanding and identifying common pests is crucial for implementing effective pest management strategies.

  • Aphids: These tiny, sap-sucking insects can cluster on the tender new growth and undersides of leaves, leading to distorted growth and honeydew secretion.
  • Japanese Beetles: These voracious feeders can skeletonize the foliage of the sweet pepperbush, causing significant damage if present in large numbers.

Botanist’s Tips

Incorporate the following expert tips to ensure the successful cultivation and enjoyment of the sweet pepperbush:

  • Mulch Application: Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as shredded bark or compost, around the base of the plant to conserve soil moisture and suppress weed growth.
  • Companion Planting: Pair the sweet pepperbush with companion plants that complement its growing requirements and aesthetic qualities, such as ferns, astilbes, and other shade-loving perennials.
  • Pollinator Attraction: Enhance pollinator activity by planting a variety of nectar-rich flowers and shrubs in the vicinity of the sweet pepperbush, creating a vibrant ecosystem in your garden.

Fun Facts

Here are some intriguing and delightful facts about the sweet pepperbush that showcase its unique qualities and ecological significance:

  • Fragrant Bloom: The sweet pepperbush’s white flowers emit a delightful, honey-sweet fragrance that attracts a myriad of pollinators, including bees and butterflies.
  • Wildlife Support: By providing nectar and habitat for pollinators, the sweet pepperbush plays a vital role in supporting local wildlife populations, contributing to biodiversity and ecosystem health.


The sweet pepperbush, Clethra alnifolia ‘Sotite’ WHITE DOVE, stands out as an exceptional deciduous shrub renowned for its fragrant blooms, adaptability to various growing conditions, and ecological value. Whether used as a focal point in a woodland garden, a charming addition to a moist border, or an essential element of a naturalized landscape, this versatile plant offers beauty and benefits to both gardeners and local wildlife. By understanding and implementing the recommended cultural practices, maintenance guidelines, and pest management strategies outlined in this guide, you can confidently cultivate and appreciate the captivating presence of the sweet pepperbush in your outdoor spaces.

Links to External Resources

For further exploration and detailed information on sweet pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia ‘Sotite’ WHITE DOVE), the following external resources are valuable references:

I hope you enjoy learning about the sweet pepperbush and find inspiration to incorporate this enchanting shrub into your gardening endeavors.

Happy gardening!

Picture of Peter Taylors

Peter Taylors

Expert botanist who loves plants. His expertise spans taxonomy, plant ecology, and ethnobotany. An advocate for plant conservation, he mentors and educates future botanists, leaving a lasting impact on the field.