Stewartia sinensis - Chinese Stewartia

Chinese Stewartia

Related to camellias (and our own domestic tea), Stewartia sinensis is a small to medium-sized, deciduous tree with a spreading, open habit, grown for its bark, flowers and autumn colour. The bark is exceptionally beautiful, ‘as smooth as alabaster and the colour of weathered sandstone’, according to Kew curator William Bean, ‘It turns purple, later brown, then peels away in translucent scrolls, exposing the fresh [sand-coloured] inner coating.’ The ovate leaves are deep green, turning reddish-purple in autumn. Single, pure-white, camellia-like flowers with a prominent boss of golden-yellow stamens, very attractive to bees, are borne in midsummer. Chinese stewartia makes a lovely specimen, giving year-round interest. Like all stewartias, it dislikes disturbance.

Site: Sheltered
Soil: Light, well-drained, acid to neutral soil
Position: Dappled shade; tolerates full sun in reliably moist soil
Season of interest: All year
Hardiness: Fully hardy
Height: 33’ (10m) Spread: 20’ (6m) in 20 years

Type | Size: Pot | 7.5L
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