The Carolina Allspice (Calycanthus Floridus) Care Guide

The Carolina Allspice, otherwise known as the Calycanthus Floridus or Eastern Sweetshrub, Carolina Allspice, Sweet Shrub, Strawberry Shrub, is a popular shrub plant native to the Northeast, and the Southeast of the United States.

Best known for its low maintenance and moderate growth, this shrub will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its green-colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

This is why all the topics you need to know in order to achieve this will be covered in this Carolina Allspice Care Guide. Ready? Let’s go!

The fundamental caring guidelines for every Carolina Allspice can be summed up into the following:

  • Water: The Carolina Allspice needs evenly spread moist soil – try to avoid letting the soil dry out.
  • Light: Keep your Calycanthus Floridus in an environment where it can receive partial shade to full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Carolina Allspice in soil with moist but well-draining properties; so ideally, one that is made of loam and clay.

That’s it – sunlight, water and soil! The basic 3 fundamentals for all plant care, and with the Carolina Allspice this is no exception. With a proper balance of these three elements, your leafy friend will live healthy and happy.

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Carolina Allspice belongs to the Calycanthaceae family, the genus Calycanthus and the species Floridus, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Calycanthus Floridus (kal-i-KAN-thus FLOR-ih-dus).

As with other Calycanthus’s, the Carolina Allspice is a deciduous plant, which means it will shed its leaves annually once autumn comes.

Growing Region

The Carolina Allspice is a plant native to the Pennsylvania to SE. U.S.A. This is why the Calycanthus Floridus is used to growing in specific regions such as the states in Northeast, and the Southeast of the United States.

As a rule of thumb, we recommend to always keep in mind your plants’ native region and environment, since these are the conditions that your Carolina Allspice is most accustomed to, thus where it can most favorably.

With this in mind, the Calycanthus Floridus will be most used to the heat zones in the 1 – 9 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a and the ideal climate zone is between 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17.

Growth and Size


In terms of size and growth, the Carolina Allspice is a relatively moderate grower, which makes things somewhat easy for any plant enthusiast.


But, how big does the Carolina Allspice actually get? What should you expect in terms of size? Let’s dive right in…

The Calycanthus Floridus can grow up to 6′ – 10′ (180cm – 3m) in 6′ – 10′ (180cm – 3m) and 6′ – 12′ (180cm – 3.6m) in 6′ – 12′ (180cm – 3.6m). This is why this plant is considered a relatively large size for a shrub, so it’s best to keep that in mind since it will likely impact where you want it to be placed. 

Also, expect it to grow in a wonderful rounded shape, which is something worthwhile to remember when making your garden landscape plans.

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 120″ – 144″ (300cm – 360cm) free so the Carolina Allspice can spread to its best extent.


In terms of watering, the Carolina Allspice is a fairly complicated plant to take care of. This is mostly because it has a not so straightforward watering schedule and somewhat irregular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Calycanthus Floridus needs evenly spread moist soil – try to avoid letting the soil dry out.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively average needs in terms of water. 

As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Carolina Allspice in soil with moist but well-draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage, moist, occasional flooding, and occasionally dry properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

However, in our experience, the best solution to knowing the right amount of water for your Carolina Allspice is with the ‘thumb’ technique. Basically, you insert your finger into the soil, and based if you feel the soil moist or dry, you determine if it needs any water, which is the most appropriate way to go about watering your leafy friend.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Carolina Allspice prefers to have soil with good drainage, moist, occasional flooding, and occasionally dry properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of loam and clay.

This is why most experts agree that the Carolina Allspice requires soil with clay, high organic matter, and loam (silt), which will give you the right conditions it needs.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably neutral to acid soil.

Light and Placement

In terms of light & exposure, the Carolina Allspice requires partial shade to full sun in order to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this shrub will do well as long as you keep it in partial to full sun and it will be able to grow properly. 

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Calycanthus Floridus in little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day), to full and direct sun (more 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).


Being a deciduous plant, the Carolina Allspice will shed its leaves annually once autumn comes. But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the spring (mid, late), the summer (early, mid, late), and during the fall.


You can expect your Carolina Allspice to flower around the spring months from April to June (spring).

In particular, this shrub is well known for its fragrant, flowers for cutting and showy flowers around the plant enthusiast community.

The Carolina Allspice produces some beautiful red, or gold/yellow, brown/copper and red/burgundy flowers around this time of year.


The leaves from the Carolina Allspice have a beautiful green color during most of the year.

In particular, they have a simple arrangement with an opposite organization in its leaves. You can expect the leaves from your Calycanthus Floridus to be around (3-6 inches) in size.

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Carolina Allspice is well known for its tolerance to clay soil, wet soil and animals like deer, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Calycanthus Floridus will be fine.


How should you then organize your garden to include your new Carolina Allspice? Here are some recommendations by expert gardeners.

Some owners consider that they compliment well most gardens of informal and cottage, and in prairie and meadow styles. 

In particular, the Carolina Allspice’s best location within your garden is in beds and borders, and in ponds and streams, others use it for landscaping in a cutting garden, hedge, border, firescaping/fire wise, or a wildlife garden.

Companion Plants

Carolina Allspice’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Campsis radicans, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

Others consider that a nice Clethera alnifolia will work well too, so choose whichever you find works best for you!


And we’ve come to an end. Fortunately that’s everything you need to know about your Carolina Allspice to keep it safe and sound in your garden or home. Enjoy planting!

Martin Duran

Hey y'all! My name is Martin Duran and I am from Cali, Colombia. Since 2018 I have been learning about plants and how to take care of them. Here's is my journey... “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

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