Saturday, May 15, 2010



The Camellias hardy deciduous cousins; the Stewartias are native to temperate regions of Asia and the U.S. They generally leaf out at a time normal for most trees in the spring and are very attractive at all seasons.
They like mulch and cool, moist, fertile, light, well drained soil with abundant organic matter. However they will grow however somewhat slower on just about any well drained soil that is not prone to drought. The Stewartias grow well in both sun or part shade except for S. malacodendron that should not be in full sun in the South. Stewartia pseudocamellia can also scorch in sun if it is very hot however this generally only happens in the Midwest and Deep South or where heat is reflected off concrete.
Pruning is not generally needed other than training when young and limbing up to show off the bark.
Propagation can be either from stratified seeds soaked in water for 24 hours before sowing, or by 4 inch softwood cuttings in summer. Stewartias like to be moved about as much as Hickories; and trees planted small while still dormant in early spring establish much faster than larger trees. Stewartias do not normally get attacked by insect pests or diseases.

Stewartia koreana ( Korean Stewartia )
A moderate growing dense canopied tree native to southern China and Korea. It can reach up to 15 x 10 feet in 10 years; 27 x 17 feet in 20 years and eventually 40 feet or more. The largest trees ever recorded reach as large as 80 x 35 feet with a trunk diameter up to 20 inches. The fastest recorded growth rate is 3 feet.
The leaves are oval with toothed edges, they reach up to 5 x 3 inches in size.
The foliage usually turns to scarlet red in autumn, however in mild winters may be evergreen. This tree leafs out very early in spring.
The flowers are white with golden anthers and have jagged edged petals. They are up to 4 inches across and the trees stay in bloom for up to 2 weeks.
Hardy zones 4 to 9. It has been known to self seed in New Jersey and possible elsewhere in the Mid Atlantic.

* photos taken on Apr 23 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

* photo taken on May 27 2017 @ Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA

Stewartia malacodendron ( Silky Camellia )
The common name is a bit confusing however the Stewartias are hardy, deciduous relatives of the Camellias. It is also sometimes known as the "Virginia Stewartia".
A very beautiful, small tree reaching a maximum size of 23 x 23 feet in 20 years and rarely maturing much larger ( record is 40 x 40 feet with trunk 0.5 feet across ).
The new leaves and shoots are downy and the foliage matures to lush deep green above ( ans still downy below ) in summer and turning attractive deep red in autumn. The finely-toothed, elliptic leaves are up to 5 x 2 inches in size.
The white, summer flowers are carried singly and have blue-gray anthers and purple stamens. They are up to 4 inches across and are borne in July and August.
The fruits are a woody red-brown capsule up to 0.5 inches across.
The bark is smooth and dark green turning silvery-pink to cinnamon and still smooth on very old trees.
Hardy from zone 6 to 9. It prefers cool, deep, very acidic, rich, well drained soil, mulched roots and a site protected from wind. This very ornamental tree actually seems better adapted to areas somewhat north of its native range of rich forests in the southeast U.S. It grows well in warmer parts of Massachussets however is often difficult to grow in the extreme heat of the southeast. Growing best in zone 7, the summers in the Pacific Northwest and western Europe are too cool for this beauty.
This tree is very rare and can be difficult to propagate due to the seeds having a low germination rate.

* photo taken on Aug 24 2017 @ U.S. Botanic Garden, Wash. DC.

* photos taken by Mark A. Garland @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

Stewartia monadelpha ( Siebold Stewartia )
Also called the "Tall Stewartia", it is a moderate growing, medium-sized tree native to Korea & Japan; that reaches around 15 x 10 feet in 10 years; 20 x 20 feet in 20 years and 30 feet or more at maturity. A very long lived tree and some as large as 85 x 50 feet with trunks up to 5 feet across have been historically recorded. The record recorded yearly growth rate is 40 inches however this would be only sustained for a short period in the trees adolescence.
The oval to elliptic shaped leaves are up to 5.5 x 2.5 inches in size. They are glossy dark green above and are thinly hairy on both sides. The foliage turns deep red during late autumn ( often into December ) and are finally killed off for the season when the temperature dips to 25 F.
The early summer flowers are up to 2 inches across and are white with violet anthers.
The young shoots are covered in down.
The fruit is a woody capsule, up to 0.5 inches in length, that is red-brown in color.
The bark is smooth and metallic orange in color and flakes to reveal lighter cream patches below.
Hardy zones 5 to 9, it is very heat tolerant.

* photo taken on May 8 2010 @ McCrillis Gardens, Bethesda, MD

* photos taken on March 8 2013 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

Stewartia ovata ( Mountain Stewartia )
A rare native to the U.S. from central Arkansas to northern Kentucky to northern Virginia; south to eastern Texas to Florida. This is typically a small tree reaching a maximum of 30 x 30 feet in 20 years and rarely growing much larger at maturity, however some on ideal sites are known to have reached up to 50 x 50 feet with a trunk diameter of 1 foot.
The oval foliage is large for a Stewartia ( up to 6 x 3 or rarely 9 x 4 inches ) and has sparsely toothed edges. The leaves are deep green above, downy beneath, turning to orange, red or deep purple during autumn.
The flowers, up to 4 inches across, are white with frilled petals. They are borne during mid-summer.
The furrowed grayish-brown bark is not as attractive as its Asian counterparts.
Hardy zones 5 to 9 ( tolerating down to - 23 F ) and is tolerates cooler summers than found in it's native range in places such as Seattle

huge white flowers up to 5 inches across with purple anthers.

'Scarlet Sentinel'
A hybrid with S. pseudocamellia, is very fast growing, reaching over 18 x 6 feet in 10 years, eventually much more. It is dense and columnar in habit, with grayish-brown exfoliating bark.

Stewartia pseudocamellia ( Japanese Stewartia )
The Japanese Stewartia is the most commonly planted Stewartia in the U.S. It is a moderate growing, dense, pyramidal-shaped, medium-sized, decidous tree, that is native to mountain woods of Japan. Some records include: largest on record - 80 x 50 x 6 feet ( in native range ), 10 years - 20 x 10 feet; 20 years - 40 x 20 feet with trunk diameter of 9 inches. Large trees in the U.S. are known to grow at Swarthmore College and Longwood Gardens in the Philly, PA area.
Its light reddish brown very attractive bark flakes freely to reveal lighter colors beneath.
The finely-toothed, elliptical leaves, up to 4.5 x 3 inches, are deep green above, downy beneath. They turn to scarlet-red during autumn.
The white with yellow anther flowers, up to 3 inches across, are borne during late spring. This tree is in the Camellia family hence the attractive blooms.
The fruits are woody and red-brown, up to an inch in length.
It is hardy from zone 5 to 8a ( some seed source may survive in zone 4 and are known to tolerate -30F ), likes mulch and grows best in sun or part shade on cool moist well drained rich well drained soil. Move while small, it hates being transplanted.

* photos taken on April 11 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photo taken @ Longwood Gardens, Philly on March 1994

* photo taken on April 18 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* photo taken by Milan Havlis, owner of central Europe's premier plant nursery

* photos taken on Oct 16 2014 in Howard Co., MD

* photos taken on Oct 14 2015 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Nov 1 2015 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Apr 10 2016 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on June 15 2016 in Columbia, MD

* historic archive photo

* photos taken on Apr 23 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

* photo taken on May 27 2017 @ Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA

* photos taken on June 15 2017 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Nov 5 2017 in Columbia, MD

The 4 inch flowers are huge for a Stewartia, otherwise similar.

* photos taken on June 5 2018 in Columbia, MD

Stewartia rostrata ( Fragrant Stewartia )
A small tree reaching up to 10 x 8 ( 15 x 10 reported ) feet in 10 years; 16 x 12 feet in 20 years and eventually 25 feet ( record is 40 x 30 feet ) It is native to southern China.
The leaves are up to 6 x 2.5 inches in size and have a rubbery wet, glossy look. They have excellent red fall color.
The fragrant, white flowers, up to 2.5 inches across, are borne during early summer.
The gray bark is shallowly furrowed.
Hardy zones 6 to 9a though hardiest seed source may be more cold hardy to zone 5. It is more heat tolerant than most Stewartias.

similar with pink flowers

Stewartia serrata ( Oyama Stewartia )
The Oyama Stewartia is native to central China and is not common anywhere. it is the earliest Stewartia to leaf out and is covered in 2.5 inch white flowers during early May. Its leathery leaves are oval ( 3.7 x 1.5 inch ) and dark green, turning scarlet in fall. Its attractive bark is plain brown to indian red.
This ideal small tree grows to about 20 x 15 feet in 10 years and eventually reaches 30 feet or more. Records include: 10 years - 25 x 20 feet; largest ever recorded - 66 x 22 feet. Limbing up is recommended since the bark is a year round feature of this tree. It needs a shady moist site and is hardy from zones 5b and south.

* photos taken on Feb 8 2015 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photos taken on May 6 2010 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

* photo taken on 4th of July 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* photos taken on Feb 8 2015 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

Stewartia sinensis ( Chinese Stewartia )
The Chinese Stewartia is a tree native to China with zig zag stems and is fast growing to 10 x 8 feet in 10 years; 20 x 17 feet in 20 years, eventually growing to 30 feet or more with the record being 60 x 25 feet with a trunk diameter of 2 feet.
Its taper pointed, dark green leaves grow to 5 x 2 inches with serrated edges and turn to glowing scarlet in the fall.
The fragrant flowers, up to 2 inches across, are white with yellow anthers.
Its beautiful reddish bark flakes off to reveal lighter patches beneath.
It is hardy from zones 5 to 9. Grows well in the Mid Atlantic region of the U.S.

* photo taken @ U.S. National Arboretum on August 2005

* photo taken on April 18 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

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