I have been trying to grow our native spicebush, Lindera benzoin, for several years.
The next street over from mine is called Spicebush Lane, so I guess our surrounding woods were at one time home to stands of spicebush plants.
It has wonderful qualities -- a spicy scent if you crush the leaves, its droopy fluttery leaves turn bright yellow in fall, and these delicate greenish yellow flowers pop out very early in the season.
It's a host for the spicebush swallowtail butterfly, along with sassafras. Red berries on female spicebush plants are a plus in the winter. Just a really great plant all around.
It is supposed to be an easy to grow, no fuss, very pretty native shrub, but I have had the darndest time getting them going.
Although it looks like the haze of flowers covers a large plant in the top photo, you can see here that my plants are still little.
I planted these two in 2006, from two-gallon nursery containers.
What you don't see are the several spicebush plants that died in the past six years, or the two that are still out in the meadow but no taller than the weeds in summer. They were planted in 2006 and 2007 but they have not grown. I thought they were in too much sun, or soil that was too dry, but most sources say Lindera benzoin is a tough plant that can take shade or sun, moist or drier.
A thriving, 10 foot tall mature spicebush will not overwhelm you, even in bloom, or in its golden fall color. It's a subtle plant, an overlooked plant in all seasons, but a lovely one.
Mine are trying as hard as they can not to overwhelm me at all.
And they are succeeding.