Stewartia Plant Profile
Stewartia (Stewartia spp.) is a small tree that is known for its ornamental flower buds, its camellia-like white flowers, its fall color, interesting seed pods, and attractive, exfoliating bark in winter.
It is called the “Summer Dogwood” in the southern US due to its late spring into early summer blooming period.
There are both Asian and Native kinds of Stewartia. In fact, there are two native species and 12 recognized Asian ones — some with branches that zig-zag, some shrubby, and two species have fragrant flowers. Silky Stewartia (S. malacodendron) and Mountain Stewartia (S. ovata), have purple anthers with blue stamen. The Asian species have golden-yellow centers. The plant most available in nurseries is the Japanese Stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamellia).
Stewartia requires consistent watering during its first year. Pick its location in your garden carefully as transplanting has a low survival rate.
Stewartia does like well-drained, organic soil, and a sheltered spot, with protection from the afternoon sun and the north wind. It does not like wet feet. An understory woodland habitat tree, it will thrive under similar conditions in your garden.
Pruning is not required. Allow it to develop its natural structure and shape, pruning only to remove dead, broken, or crossing branches -- or to remove a waterspout.
Stewartia is known to be pest-free as well as non-aggressive. It grows to about 30-feet tall and is highly recommended for small space gardens.
Stewartia: You Can Grow That!
The video was produced by Washington Gardener Magazine as part of our Plant Profile series for Mid-Atlantic USA gardeners.
Audio and text by Kathy Jentz
Video footage by Tori Vandergriff
Editing by Jamie Oberg
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~ Podcast: GardenDC