Here’s the next plant in my daily showcase of plants with winter interest. Today, say hello to Japanese Stewartia
Japanese Stewartia – Stewartia pseudocamellia
If you’re looking for a nice small to medium sized tree for winter bark interest, look no further. Japanese Stewartia can’t be beat. Its bark is much better than its bite.
The tree sports stunning grey, orange, and/or reddish-brown exfoliating bark, highly visible in the winter garden once its leaves have fallen.
Japanese Stewartia a Three-Season Showboat
This plant is not just a winter performer. It’s a triple season player. The show starts in early summer and blooms from June to July. Cup-shaped white flowers with vivid orange-yellow anthers appear, looking somewhat like camellia blooms. Dark green foliage transitions into showy shades of reddish-orange and burgundy in the fall. Once leaves fall, that distinctive bark shines forth like a beacon, brightening winter days in your garden.
Japanese stewartia grows slowly in zones 5 through 8, and can reach a height of 30 to 40 feet with a 20 to 25 foot spread, though it usually stays smaller. Grow it in groups of three at the edge of the woods, or isolate one plant for specimen or focal point interest. It also makes a great anchor at the corner of a two-story house (just make sure you plant it at least 8 feet away from the structure). You can train Japanese Stewartia as a single trunk tree, though it wants to be more of a multi-trunk plant. It grows best in full sun to partial shade, with a medium amount of moisture. Its a perfect, low maintenance tree, with no serious disease or pest problems.
Stewaritias are distant cousins of camellias (both from the tea family), which explains that camellia-like bloom. The Japanese Stewartia is also a nectar plant for attracting honeybees, as well as other pollinators.
Coming Up Tomorrow: Take a Gander at Tuskeegee Crape Myrtle