Click for previous Image Image 1 of 3 Clethra alnifolia Sweet Pepperbush

Clethra alnifolia 'Anne Bidwell'

Sweet Pepperbush

Plant Type:


Clethra alnifolia 'Anne Bidwell' - Huge white mid- to late summer flowers emit a slight fragrance (moreso on other cultivars) over lustrous dark green leaves. Foliage turns bright yellow in autumn. The seed heads add modest autumn and winter interest. Older wood exfoliates for quiet winter interest. This is good bee plant sited in full to part sun in fertile soil. Established pot-grown shrub from cutting. The original shrub was likely found near or at Eagle Pond in Barnstable on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Constance Bidwell Brines who we had the great pleasure to meet on May 30, 2015 sent this bit of history which appears to be in the form of an obituary. Constance contacted us looking for 3 Clethra alnifolia 'Anne Bidwell'. We were able to provide this marvelous form of Sweet Pepperbush to her. Henceforth, a lovely, fortuitous meeting. Thank you, Constance.,,

Anne E. Bidwell (1915 - 2002)

Anne (Edmondson) Bidwell was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Vassar with a degree in Chemistry then worked in administration for Dupont and Steuben Glass before her marriage to John Bidwell. Her greatest passion was gardening.

When she moved into her husband’s grandparents’s (Judge Charles (1851-1934) and Helen Jackson (Cabot) (1856-1938) Almy) summer home in Cotuit, on Cape Cod, she opened a nursery. Her nursery was informal; it was mostly a mechanism to share with family, friends, and neighbors her hardy and/or native shrubs that she so strongly endorsed for their properties.

Anne Bidwell discovered among her Clethra alnifolia cuttings a specimen with extra blooms. She recognized a variety of exceptional merit. She donated a rooted cutting to the Arnold Arboretum in 1993; they developed it for sale to the nursery trade. At one time, almost every speciality mail-order nursery was carrying Clethra alnifolia ‘Anne Bidwell’. Now, although less common, it continues as a hardy, richly-blooming variety.




5-6 ft


4-5 ft



Characteristics and Attributes for Clethra alnifolia 'Anne Bidwell'

Season of Interest (Flowering)

  • Summer / Late Summer

Season of Interest (Foliage)

  • Spring / Summer / Autumn

Interesting Bark

  • Exfoliating

Autumn Interest

  • Fruit / Berries / Seed Heads
  • Autumn Leaf Color

Nature Attraction

  • Deer Resistant
  • Honey Bees & Native Bees


  • Morning Sun / Afternoon Shade
  • Full Sun


  • Natural Garden
  • Fragrant
  • Massing
  • Shrub Border
  • Hedgerow
  • Wildlife Garden

Growth Rate in the Garden

  • Medium


  • Fertile
  • Moist
  • Draining
  • Woodland


  • Cape Cod

Propagated By

  • Cutting Grown