Japanese Stewartia

chris209November 16, 2012

I thinking of purchasing a Japanese Stewartia, but have some reservations. Does this tree produce an abundance of flowers, or are they not very showy? I can't seem to find a picture of it in full bloom, so I'm thinking it's not really grown for the flowers as much as it is for its form, bark and fall foliage. What are you feelings about this species? How about Korean Stewartia? Are they very different? Would I be better off with a magnolia?

Thanks for your help,

Chris

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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

The flowers on Stewartia pseudocamellia do not last long but the plant blooms in succession. So not covered all at once but blooming lasts a couple of weeks. It blooms (for me) in late June-early July which is nice since other trees are done by then. I enjoy this plant and am glad to have it.

tj

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 9:46PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

They are very pretty, but yes, the flowers are probably somewhat secondary to the bark and fall foliage.
They are not easy to establish, and aren't very drought tolerant in their first few years. Comes from an Asian monsoon climate with monthly summer rainfall of roughly 8" instead of our 4". I lost one in the hot summer of 2011 because I wasn't watering it consistently. (planted in Spring of 2010 and survived that hot summer, barely) Though on LI you're probably in one of the easier places to establish them in the eastern CONUS, recent storms notwithstanding. If you're in a mood for low maintenance, a magnolia is going to be better for you. I've found even the relatively fussy Gresham varieties aren't very demanding of care...and Southern Magnolia (if that's what you meant) would be practically indestructible on LI, if you choose a winter-hardy enough cultivar.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 7:50AM
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medamana(z7a NJ)

Japanese stewartia will do very well in Long Island. My sister-in-law who lives on the north shore has two, and they are thriving. They bloom in early-to-mid June. Not very showy in bloom, but it's definitely an excellent four-season small tree.

John

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 2:38PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

If it does well you may need room for a medium tree, if the long term is being planned for. Here we see them stuck in foundation plantings and other inadequate spaces where they will just have to be cut down later. I've got one across the street that has been in place for decades now, that a previous owner began shearing at one point and the maintenance service continues to shear. It is ridiculous, a tight, hedge-like oval with a big trunk visible near the base. Don't remember now if it even manages to bloom much. Without the mal-pruning it might be pretty tall and nice by now.

One in England was 56' tall in 1985 and another, here in Washington State had reached 45' by 1992. Examples in Seattle (USDA 8) measured ca. 2005 range from 30' to 42'+.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 2:56PM
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strobiculate

if the standard of floral comparison is magnolia, malus, prunus, where the entire tree becomes abliteral living bouquet of flowers, no stewartia is not spectacular in bloom.

however, the two to three inch flowers show well againt the foliage backdrop and while more reserved in their expression than some of the early spring bloomers, are remarkable for their blooms. as well as potential for fall color, winter bark appeal. the combimation of features is beyond remarkable.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 3:39PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

I have a couple of Stewartia pseudocamellias, but I prefer the monodelpha better. It has nicer Fall color.
Mike

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 8:11PM
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chris209

Thank you all for the useful information! I will take this all into consideration as I make my decision. The spot I have in mind has plenty of room, but I'm a little worried it'll be too sunny.
I've recently purchased a home with a 1/2 acre to play with, and I am trying to not make any major planting decisions too hastily.
Thanks again,
Chris

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 9:29PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Does the botann tree shown here have the all-red bark of S. monadelpha? The foliage looks like it is perhaps intermediate, I have seen S. x henryae (S. monadelpha x S. pseudocamellia) more that once in blocks of stock delivered to local outlets that was supposed to be one species or the other. This hybrid is not as rare as one might think from some of the literature on the subject.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 11:03PM
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bogturtle(SE NJ 7a)

Mine blooms very briefly, each flower hardly lasting more than a day. The foliage is a amber orange each Fall. The tree is too small to show much of the attractive bark coloring.
The flowers hang down, but those on the Korean Stewartia are not supposed to. My Korean tree is too small to bloom, at this time, but it also colored nicely, this Fall.
While on vacation, I almost lost my P.japonica, as the person watering the plants did not water it. It is recovered.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 11:39PM
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picea(6A Cinci- Oh)

My Korean Stewartia Has the best color of any plant in my Garden and can easily rival Nyssa.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 11:59PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Seedlings vary. I've seen Korean stewartia with down-facing flowers at the Seattle arboretum. The stereotypic concepts of Korean stewartia vs. Japanese are based in part on the Korean long being represented in western cultivation only by a single introduction.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 1:30PM
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michaddict6(zone 6 MI.)

I need some advice for my stewartia pseudocammelia. It has been planted a year now. It's leaves have never gotten healthy green, but look anemic. I added goodies to the soil when I planted it. It's in part sun. The roses I planted near are going gangbusters and blooming great for young ones. I don't know what this little guy(5ft) needs. I'm afraid it won't come back in spring.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 11:34PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

In future do not amend planting hole back-fill, this has long been seen to not produce an improvement - possibly you put something in the hole that is bothering the tree. Or if it came with a field soil root-ball maybe it is dry on the inside.

Impossible to say for sure without even a picture to go on.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 11:58PM
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mrtulin

My friend and I both have them and we were unaware that just a few flowers bloom at one time. It doesn't make a big bang. OTOH it blooms when not a lot is does, and if you limb it up a bit it has beautiful bark as it matures.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 12:00AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

The flowers display beautiful details up close, the glistening and sculpted-looking petals for instance presumably being the basis for the common name silky camellia.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 12:39AM
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jujujojo_gw(6b 7a)

Detail:

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 7:58PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

These photos show Sinocalycanthus and not Stewartia.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 10:53PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Ida, how long have you been growing this plant in 5A?

I'm assuming you have a more acidic soil by you?

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 11:04PM
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jujujojo_gw(6b 7a)

ok, these details:

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 2:43PM
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mrtulin

In for 2 full growing seasons. Its first summer was killer hot and droughty.
Yes New England is acidic.
I'm curious why you ask......

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 3:12PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

I've been wanting to try one but never have because of its borderline hardiness in zone 5 but I have soil ph of 7.3 on top of that.

Haven't heard of too many people growing them in zone 5.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 3:33PM
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mrtulin

We are 5a trending to 6
Thyme2dig. Is in so.NH and grows it too.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 4:03PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

How about attractiveness to deer?

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 6:38AM
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basic(Z4a)

I live in an area with heavy deer pressure and it has never even been nibbled. Stewartia is without a doubt the most deer resistant deciduous tree I've got. This tree is also much hardier than generally listed.

Mine has three main stems, and it's almost like I've got three different trees. They flower differently and as you can see, fall foliage varies depending on the stem they grow. It's not the worst thing that could happen, but I hope it does outgrow this eventually.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 3:29PM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

Whaas, mine has been fine too in Z5. Like Idabean said, we were both surprised as to the flowering. I waited a number of years for flowers and was thrilled this year with the tree covered with buds. Only to have it bloom a handful of flowers per day. Still, the flowers were beautiful, even after they fell off the tree and were laying in the garden. And I really like the bark and excellent fall foliage of this tree. So even though I didn't get my hopeful burst of bloom (because apparently I missed this post last year) I'm still happy with the tree overall. I have it planted with some Japanese maples and it works nicely with them.

I also have no deer damage.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 8:14PM
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NB_2009(7a-Long Island, NY)

Great tree. Make sure to deep water for the first two seasons. Blooms profusely, however, each flower usually lasts just a day before it falls off. Attached is my tree which is in front yard on the east side of my property.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 10:05PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Can't speak to deer, but rabbits will attack a small tree. I lost one to them, below is the replacement I've had for a few years now.

Not much color yet this fall, but last year was very good.

Basic, I'm amazed yours is doing so well in zone 4.

tj

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 9:58PM
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michaddict6(zone 6 MI.)

Thanks everyone who responded. bboy, I didn't put amendments in the hole, but put them in the whole area. The soil is too bad for growing anything. I used good dirt and compost and some peat also.Could this be what "hard to establish" looks like?It had a small cluster of buds which were so cute. They looked like big white pearls-but they dropped off.From what was said, I need to water more. Any thing else they need? It's planted in a sheltered spot by my house that gets part sun.How acid does the soil need to be?

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 11:47PM
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basic(Z4a)

Tsugajunkie ~ It does seem to be defying conventional wisdom on hardiness. I've also read that it resents being moved, which I did in 2011. It settled into its new digs with no problems at all. We haven't experienced anything colder than -25F (F is for frigg'n) since it was first planted as a tiny little thing in 2007, but I think it's safe to say it's at least z4b hardy. Great tree.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 5:44PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

bboy, here is the mother tree from which the volunteer tree I posted above came from. You mentioned something about the bark. I have a Stewartia 'Pseudocamellia' located about a block away, if that makes any difference in a possible cross pollination.
Mike

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 9:03AM
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