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Plant Profile: Japanese Stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamellia)

Stewartia pseudocamellia FWhen the large pearl like buds open into white camellia-like flowers against dark green foliage in summer, a time when few other trees or shrubs are blooming, you will know that you have a very special tree. Its virtues, however, don’t end there; in fall the leaves turn bright yellow to red, and when the leaves fall the unusual branching habit and bark are revealed to add interest to the winter garden. The bark is especially beautiful as it exfoliates displaying contrasting colors below of dull orange and green with a touch of gray. The small size of Stewartia makes it a good tree for a patio and it’s density makes it a good buffer between garden rooms.

Type: Deciduous tree.stewardia bark

Outstanding Features: White camellia-like flowers in summer; bright yellow and red autumn coloration; distinctive branching pattern; exfoliating bark.

Form: Pyramidal to rounded.

Growth Rate: Slow.

stewartia flower

Bloom: White, camellia-like flowers in summer.

Size: 30-40’ H x 25-30’ W.

Light: Full sun-part shade.

Soil: Thrives in moist acid soil (pH 4.5 to 6.5) high in organic matter but tolerates poor quality compacted soil; drought tolerant when established.

Hardiness: Zones 5B-7.

Care: Can be grown as multi- or single stemmed tree by selective pruning.

Pests and Diseases: None of importance.

Propagation: By seed or cuttings but both are difficult.

Comments: Bark is thin and is susceptible to mechanical damage.

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