A tree for all Seasons
Common Name: Japanese stewartia
Botanical Name: Stewartia pseudocamellia
Form: multi-stemmed upright tree with round canopy
Genus: Stewartia (named after John Stuart, 16th century Scottish botanist)
Species: pseudocamellia (false camellia)
Plant Type: deciduous tree
Mature Size: 15 to 40 feet x 10 to 25 feet
Hardiness Zone: 5 to 8
Foliage: 3 inch, dark green serrated foliage that turn yellowish orange and red in fall
Flowers: June to July, showy 2.5 inch solitary, cup-shaped flowers with 5 white petals and many golden stamens
Fruit: brown, pointed pyramidal capsule up to 2 inches long
Bark: attractive peeling, red-brown with multiple trunks
Exposure: full sun, part shade, afternoon shade is best
Soil: prefers moist, rich organic, well-drained soils
Uses: winter interest, fall colour, borders, specimen, woodland
Propagation: softwood cuttings in early summer, or semi-hardwood cuttings in mid to late summer.
Pruning: usually not necessary, but if needed do so after flowering
Problems: doesn’t like it too hot
Cultivars & Species: There are 9 species that are either small trees or shrubs with exfoliating bark.
Korean stewartia (Koreana stewartia) grows 20 to 30 ft, 3inch white flowers with 5 to 6 petals. Tall stewartia (S. monadelpha) reaches 25ft, pyramidal shape, shrubby, blossoms are smaller, under an inch, best in partial shade, but tolerates full sun and has excellent heat tolerance unlike other stewartias. Chinese stewartia (S. sinensis) is 30 feet tall, has peeling papery brown and purple bark, with leaves up to 4 inches long. They turn bright red in fall and bear slightly fragrant white flowers up to 2 inches long.
Comments: Makes an excellent small tree for a small garden. Use as a specimen tree or to provide an accent. Looks good all year long as it has a nice round canopy, pretty green simple leaves, beautiful large white flowers, but it’s known for its attractive patchwork bark in colours of beige, red, brown, grey and green. The more mature the tree, the nicer the bark.