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Japanese stewartia is a strikingly beautiful small tree. It has very showy white flowers with gold-colored stamens in June; bright maroon-red fall foliage color; and with age develops bark with a patchwork of brown, orange-brown, and cream colors. Bark characteristics vary from tree to tree and some trees have lustrous bark. This species is noteworthy for the bark alone, but the handsome foliage (in autumn as well as the growing season), showy flowers, and bark truly make this a tree that can be admired twelve months a year. Japanese stewartia is a slow-growing species and requires a well-drained soil that has ample organic matter. While this tree will grow in full sun, the most handsome individuals I have come across were in sites that had afternoon shade.
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Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.
September 27, 2018