By Jennifer Poindexter
Are you looking for a smaller tree to incorporate into your landscape? Have you considered growing a stewartia pseudocamellia tree? It’s also commonly known as a Japanese stewartia.
This tree is known for putting on a show for the majority of the year. It begins with its cup-shaped white blooms in the summer, colorful leaves in the fall, and a flaky bark which steals the show during winter.
If you’re interested in this unique tree, be sure you understand how to grow it prior to planting. I’m going to walk you through what you should know about this tree from start to finish.
Here’s what you should know when learning how to grow a stewartia pseudocamellia tree:
Growing Conditions for the Stewartia Pseudocamellia Tree
The stewartia pseudocamellia tree has a few specific growing conditions which must be met to encourage this plant to thrive.
To better understand what this plant needs, let’s take a closer look at it. The stewartia pseudocamellia tree ranges in height from 12 to 40 feet. It also has a width between 8 and 25 feet.
Therefore, it’s considered a small to medium sized deciduous tree which produces white, cup-shaped blooms between June and August.
In the fall, the tree’s leaves will turn orange, burgundy, or red. It also has a flaking bark which peels brown, gray, and orange. This is an eye-catching and colorful tree to say the least.
It’s native to Korea and Japan and typically grows in mountain forests areas. When growing this tree, expect it to remain hardy in planting zones five through eight.
This tree isn’t a good candidate for containers as it’s prone to toppling over, so it should only be grown in these suggested planting zones where it can be safely placed in the ground for a permanent growing space.
If you live in planting zones five through eight make sure to provide exactly what the tree needs to help it thrive in your landscape.
When growing the stewartia pseudocamellia tree be sure to provide a location with full to partial sunlight. The tree can’t handle hot afternoon sunlight as it could scorch the foliage, so keep this in mind to provide adequate protection.
This area should also contain evenly damp, loamy, well-draining soil. This soil must also be of good quality and rich in nutrients.
Don’t expect the stewartia pseudocamellia tree to grow in areas with dry, clay, or rocky soil. You must also select a growing location with protection from harsh winds as this could knock the tree over.
Once the growing conditions are correct, you should be off to a good start in adding this tree to your yard or garden area.
How to Plant the Stewartia Pseudocamellia Tree
The best time to plant a stewartia pseudocamellia tree is during the spring and summer. You may transplant a purchased tree or grow it from seed or a softwood cutting.
Let’s discuss each of these options in greater detail. To begin, the easiest method is transplanting a tree purchased from a local nursery.
If you’re new to gardening, this might be a great place to start. Once the tree is at your home, dig a hole in the designated growing location. Ensure it meets all the specifications stated above.
The hole should be large enough to support the tree’s root system. Gently place the tree in the hole and begin backfilling it with dirt until it’s halfway full.
Add two to three gallons of water to the hole and backfill it completely. From there, add another two to three gallons.
Then use your foot to press the soil around the base of the tree. Prepare for your foot to get wet and dirty, but it should help add support to the tree.
It’s wise to stake the tree at the time of planting. However, be mindful not to girdle the tree. This is when the material used to support the tree presses into the bark and essentially cuts of the circulation in the plant.
This will starve it overtime and lead to its death. If you use support for your tree, check it frequently and move it as needed to ensure the tree doesn’t suffer.
The next method to growing a stewartia pseudocamellia tree is from seed. You may sow seeds directly into the ground in fall.
However, it will take a long time for your seeds to sprout as it usually takes two years for the seeds to germinate on their own.
If you’d like to speed up the process, you may start by soaking your seeds for one day. If the seeds don’t become engorged during this time, roughen the outer layer with sandpaper and soak them for another 12 hours.
Once the seeds have absorbed water, plant them in a container filled with well-draining soil. This container will need to be kept in an area with consistent temperatures between 60- and 65-degrees Fahrenheit.
Keep the container in these conditions for four months. Ensure the soil is kept consistently and evenly damp throughout this time.
When this amount of time has passed, move the container to a location with consistent temperatures around 45-degrees Fahrenheit. It must stay in this location for three months.
After the seeds have gone through these different conditions, move them to an area with temperatures around 70-degrees Fahrenheit until germination has occurred.
Once the seeds have sprouted, you may continue to grow them in their own containers until sturdy enough to be moved outdoors. However, be sure to transplant the trees during the spring or summer.
If you’d rather move the seeds outdoors immediately, assuming it’s spring or summer, you may go ahead and plant the germinated seeds in their permanent growing location.
Our final way to grow the stewartia pseudocamellia tree is from a cutting. There’s a high risk of failure due to the temperatures the cutting needs to successfully develop roots.
Take this into consideration before starting this process. Begin by removing a 5 inch cutting from an established tree during early or mid-summer.
Remove any leaves from the bottom of the cutting and expose as much of the softwood as possible by chipping away the hard outer exterior.
Dip the cutting into rooting hormone. From there, plant the cutting in a container filled with well-draining soil.
Place the container in a growing location with temperatures steadily at 40-degrees Fahrenheit. Keep it in this location over the winter months.
Ensure it’s placed where it can receive plenty of bright, indirect sunlight. Keep the soil evenly damp throughout the winter.
Once spring arrives, if the cutting forms roots, you may go ahead and transplant it in its permanent growing location.
You now have three different ways to go about adding this tree to your landscape. Choose the method which works best for your skill level and budget.
Caring for a Stewartia Pseudocamellia Tree
Though it’s difficult to propagate a stewartia pseudocamellia tree, once the tree is established it isn’t difficult to care for.
When growing this tree, you must water, fertilize, and prune it to keep it at its best. When watering a stewartia pseudocamellia tree, make sure you do so deeply during the first year.
This means that you’ll apply water for longer periods of time, fewer days of the week. By using this method, you’ll water the plant enough without oversaturating it.
Plus, this encourages the tree to grow a deeper root system. Be sure to test the soil and ensure it’s dry to your first knuckle prior to having another deep watering session.
After the first year, water the tree deeply once per week. It’s also wise to mulch around the tree as this helps retain moisture.
Next, be sure to fertilize your tree each spring with an all-purpose fertilizer. Lastly, you should prune the stewartia pseudocamellia tree.
Wait until all flowering has ceased. From there, if the tree has any damaged areas, go ahead and prune them away to encourage healthy growth.
These are the few steps you must take to keep a stewartia pseudocamellia tree healthy while growing under your care.
Pests and Diseases Which Might Impact the Stewartia Pseudocamellia Tree
There’s great news when growing a stewartia pseudocamellia tree. It’s not prone to any problems with pests or diseases.
Therefore, you shouldn’t have many problems when growing it around your home. The only real risk this tree faces is the likelihood of it falling over.
This tree doesn’t establish itself as quickly or firmly as many other varieties of trees. It’s vital that you provide protection from the wind and staking to help keep this tree upright while it’s becoming established in your landscape.
Aside from this issue, there isn’t much more you should need to protect this tree from when growing around your home.
You now have the details necessary to grow a stewartia pseudocamellia tree and have a positive experience while doing so.
Take the time to provide what this tree needs, so you may enjoy its fantastic show of beauty and color for many years.