Are you looking for a pest-free, small- to medium-sized landscape tree with multi-season beauty? Would you like to have a variety that does not show up on every list of The 25 Most Common Trees? Does the idea of showy summer flowers on a tree appeal to you? If so, you may want to consider planting a Japanese stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamellia). This tree is a beauty in all seasons — it offers good spring foliage followed by large, white, camellia-like flowers in June and July, and outstanding red, purple or yellow fall foliage color and incredible mottled bark with puzzle-like patterns of tan, olive green, ivory, orange, beige and gray.
Japanese stewartia should be planted in a prominent place in the landscape where it can serve as a year-round specimen plant. Choose a location with full sun or part shade in the afternoon, and then modify the planting site to provide a moist, acid, organic soil for best performance.
Common Name: Japanese Stewartia
Botanical Name: Stewartia pseudocamellia
Flowers: White with orange anthers in center; blooms in June/July.
Fall Foliage Color: Excellent — red, purple, yellow
Soil: Adaptable; prefers moist, acid, organic soil and 2 to 3 inches organic mulch.
Size: 20 to 40 feet tall by 15 to 20 feet wide
Exposure: Full sun or afternoon shade
Watering: 1 inch of water per week during the growing season
When To Fertilize: Fertilize in late fall or very early spring, based on soil test results.
Planting & Pruning: Plant in early spring; no pruning needed.
In Your Landscape: A great specimen plant; place it where you can always see the beautiful bark, flowers and fall color!
From Kentucky Gardener Volume X Issue VI. Photos courtesy of Mike Klahr, Ph.D.