Every October, I’m so glad I planted my Tall Stewartia (Stewartia monadelpha). This tree is the most reliable, elegant, low-maintenance tree for a Northwest garden. It has a tidy crown and disease-resistant ways. I rarely prune it except to remove old dead wood. In summer, it blooms in small white flowers. In winter, the cinnamon-colored bark exfoliates in patches. And in fall, you can see by the picture how the leaves turn a brilliant shade of red.
A Good Choice for a City Garden
I truly believe everyone needs a Tall Stewartia in their yard. It will make you happy. I often incorporate them into client garden designs and the homeowners are always delighted. Stewartias are ideal for smaller gardens. When young, they grow slowly to about 12-15 feet and about 8 feet wide. After decades, they top out at 25-30 feet. They like partly sunny conditions, ideally with some afternoon shade. Soil should be rich but well-draining. In hot summers, they do need supplemental water. (I’ve broken my own heart by forgetting to water during an extreme drought and one died.) But they never have diseases or pest problems. They’re hardy to about zone 6.
For information about other Stewartia choices, check out my article about Japanese Stewartia (S. pseudocamellia). I love this one too!