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Scarlet Beauty’™ was selected in 1999 by Kris Bachtell of The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, Illinois, from a plant that has been in the Arboretum’s collection since the late 1950s. It has exhibited superior tolerance to alkaline soil, giving the plant deeper green foliage than any other sweetspire on the market when grown in the alkaline soils prevalent to much of the Midwest. Hardiness has been proven to -25 °F in a laboratory situation; therefore, Itea virginica ‘Morton’ can be grown safely in USDA Zone 4, unlike most other sweetspire selections, which are hardy to USDA Zones 5 or 6.
‘Scarlet Beauty’™ has the cleanest foliage of any of the Itea cultivars that we have grown. It has shown excellent resistance to botrytis and leaf spot.