Gro-Low Fragrant Sumac
Rhus aromatica 'Gro-Low'
Description: A large-scale ground cover with pest and disease resistance, fruit for birds, and fabulous fall color. In leaf it looks similar to poison ivy with its glossy trifoliate leaves, but it is non-vining and (fortunately!) without the irritating oil that causes blistering and itching. Mature plants grow 18-24″ high and up to 8′ across. Spreading by rooting suckers, it eventually forms large colonies making it suitable for holding steep slopes. Fragrant sumac is native to eastern North America.
The cultivar ‘Gro-Low’ was introduced by Synnesvedt Nursery, Glenview, Illinois. Yellowish flowers occur in May. In the species, male catkins and female flower clusters may occur on the same or separate plants and unfurl before the shrub leafs out. ‘Gro-Low’ is a female cultivar and is graced with clusters of red berries which may hold well into the winter if not devoured by birds and small mammals. Plant ‘Gro-Low’ in full sun and well drained soil to bring about the best growth. Hardy to Zone 3.
- Type/habit: Groundcover shrub
- Key season and features of interest: Showy fruit; glossy green leaves turning red, orange and yellow in fall
- Flowering period: April – May
- Evergreen or deciduous: Deciduous
- Native? Yes
- Pollinator plant: Attracts butterflies
- Wildlife benefits: Fruit is food source for birds and small mammals
- Site/Condition tolerance: Dry, hot sites; clay and rocky soils
- Sun/Shade preference: Full sun to part shade
- Soil condition preference: Well drained, acidic, average soil
- Low maintenance; pest and disease resistant; rabbit resistant
Growth Habit: Vigorous, low growing, dense; spreads by root suckers and colonizes
Size (mature height and spread): 18-24” tall by 6-8’ wide
Hardiness (USDA Zones): 3-9
Nativity: Eastern North America
Suggested Uses: Slopes, groundcover, erosion control
Year of award: 2008