Tree of the Month: Japanese Stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamellia)
Posted: June 12, 2012
It has a pyramidal growth habit in youth that matures to an upright oval shape. Japanese stewartia can be grown as a multi-stemmed or single trunked specimen, growing 20 – 40 feet tall with a slightly smaller spread.
A Tree for All Seasons
It is a tree for all seasons with striking late spring-early summer flowers, superb fall color and sinewy, exfoliating bark. The two-to-three inch diameter flowers are snowy white with orange anthers, resembling camellia flowers (hence the specific epithet), blooming after the riot of spring-blooming shrubs and bulbs is on the downside. The summer foliage is a clean, dark green, catching fire in fall with shades of red, purple and yellow. The bark is show all its own, with a very satiny, sinewy texture that invites your touch, exfoliating to reveal gray, brown and orange-brown patches beneath.
Growing Japanese Stewartia
Japanese stewartia performs best in part sun, preferably morning sun with shade from the hot afternoon sun, and evenly moist, well-drained acidic (pH 4.5 – 6.5) soil that has good organic matter content. This lovely tree can be a little fussy about culture, but has no significant insect or disease problems. Hardy USDA Zones 5 – 7.