How big does a spice bush get?

Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) is a deciduous shrub native to eastern North America. It is prized for its fragrant leaves, twigs, and berries, which emit a spicy aroma reminiscent of cloves or allspice. In addition to its aromatic qualities, spicebush also serves as a host plant for a variety of butterflies, making it a popular choice for gardeners and nature lovers alike. If you’re considering adding spicebush to your landscape, it’s important to understand how large this shrub can grow to ensure it fits well into your garden design. In this article, we will explore the size and growth habits of spicebush to help you make an informed decision.

The mature size of spicebush

Spicebush is a moderate-sized shrub that typically reaches a height of 6 to 12 feet (1.8 to 3.7 meters) at maturity. The plant has a rounded, bushy habit with a spread of about 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4 meters), creating a compact and dense appearance. However, it’s important to note that Spicebush’s size can vary depending on growing conditions, including soil fertility, sun exposure, and available moisture.
When planting spicebush, it’s best to give it plenty of room to grow and spread. Placing it too close to other plants or structures can inhibit its growth and limit its natural shape. Allowing enough space for the plant to mature will allow you to fully appreciate its beauty and fragrance while ensuring it has enough room to thrive.

Growth rate and habit

Spicebush is known for its moderate growth rate, typically gaining about 1 to 2 feet (30 to 60 centimeters) in height per year under ideal conditions. However, it’s important to note that growth rates can vary based on factors such as soil quality, moisture levels, and sun exposure.

In terms of habit, spicebush has a multi-stemmed growth pattern that forms a dense thicket of branches. The branches are slender and often arching, giving the shrub an elegant and graceful appearance. The leaves are elongated, smooth, and dark green, providing an attractive backdrop for the clusters of pale yellow flowers that bloom in early spring. After flowering, small red berries develop, adding further visual interest to the shrub.

Suitable growing conditions for Spicebush

To ensure optimal growth and development, it’s important to provide Spicebush with the right growing conditions. This shrub is adaptable and can tolerate a variety of soil types, including moist and well-drained soils. It thrives in partial to full shade, making it an excellent choice for woodland gardens or areas with dappled sunlight.

Although spicebush tolerates a variety of soil conditions, it prefers moist soil and benefits from regular watering, especially during dry periods. Applying a layer of organic mulch around the base of the plant can help conserve moisture and suppress weed growth.

Pruning and Care

Pruning is generally not necessary for the overall health and growth of the plant. However, if desired, light pruning can be done in early spring before new growth appears. This will help maintain the shape of the shrub and remove damaged or diseased branches.

Regular inspection of the shrub for signs of pests or disease is recommended. Spicebush is generally resistant to most common pests and diseases, but it may occasionally attract scale insects or suffer from leaf spot disease. If pest or disease problems occur, appropriate measures such as insecticidal soaps or fungicides can be used to control the problem.
In conclusion, spicebush is a delightful and aromatic shrub that adds beauty and fragrance to any landscape. Understanding its size, growth habits, and appropriate growing conditions is essential to successfully incorporating it into your garden design. By providing adequate space, the right environment, and minimal maintenance, you can enjoy the splendor of spicebush for years to come.


How big does a spicebush get?

A spicebush (Lindera benzoin) is a deciduous shrub that typically grows to a height of 6 to 12 feet (1.8 to 3.7 meters) and spreads about 6 to 10 feet (1.8 to 3 meters) wide.

What are the growth requirements for a spicebush?

Spicebushes thrive in moist, well-drained soils and prefer partial shade to full shade environments. They can tolerate a wide range of soil types, including clay, loam, and sandy soils, but they prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil pH levels.

How long does it take for a spicebush to reach its full size?

The growth rate of a spicebush is moderate, and it typically takes about 5 to 10 years for the shrub to reach its full size. However, growth rates can vary depending on environmental conditions and cultural practices.

Can spicebushes be pruned to a smaller size?

Yes, spicebushes can be pruned to maintain a smaller size or to shape them according to your preference. Pruning is best done in early spring before new growth emerges. However, it’s important to avoid excessive pruning, as it may reduce flowering and fruiting.

Do spicebushes attract wildlife?

Yes, spicebushes are valued for their ability to attract wildlife. The shrub produces small, red berries that are a food source for birds, including the Eastern Bluebird, American Robin, and Wood Thrush. Spicebush leaves also serve as food for the caterpillars of the Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly.