Stewartia Tree featured image

Planning your garden means having the right mix of ornamental shrubs, trees, and flowers and – should you wish – a fruit and vegetable patch too. This article is about a famous and beautiful ornamental tree that grows well in the United States. It’s the Japanese stewartia and is one of the most popular garden trees grown for its attractive looks. What should you know about the stewartia tree? Let’s begin!

Where Does the Stewartia Tree Originate?

The Japanese Stewartia tree, of course, originates in Japan. In the wild, this species can grow to as much as 40ft tall. It is also a fast-growing tree, and a stewartia can grow two feet in a single year. Because of this, you must choose where you are going to plant your Japanese stewartia carefully. Let’s have a look at that subject next.

Where Should I Plant a Stewartia?

Finding a suitable location for your Japanese stewartia should not be difficult as while there are some required conditions, this is not a problematic plant. The species grows well across the USA, and if you want to use the US Department of Agriculture official Hardiness grades, it stands between 5 and 8.

The plant prefers acidic soil with a pH of between 4.5 to 6.5. They also enjoy some organic compost mixed into the soil before planting. This action will allow the ground to remain moist, which is another preference of the Japanese stewartia. While optimal, you should know that growing the Japanese stewartia in poorer quality clay soil is possible, but it will not perform as well.

The amount of sun and shade your Japanese stewartia would like depends on where you live. If you are in one of the more excellent parts of the US, you will enjoy exposure to sunshine as much as possible. Should you live in a warmer climate, some afternoon shade – when the weather is at its hottest – will ensure your Japanese stewartia grows as well as it can and remains healthy.

These are beautiful trees that flower in the spring with beautiful blooms that resemble the camellia. The colors do not last long individually, and the flowering season is around two months. Come the fall. You can admire the leaves changing colors from green to a beautiful red, yellow, and purple selection, soon falling to the ground. Another feature that you will see is the charming peeling bark which is entirely natural and an attractive element of the tree.

How Do I Care for a Stewartia?

Caring for your Stewartia is not difficult and does not require any special skills that other garden plants do not. The plant is drought tolerant, so it will do fine for quite a long time without water, making it popular for the more arid areas of the USA. However, it would help if you occasionally watered for the healthiest tree to keep the soil moist enough for healthy growth.

Pruning a Japanese stewartia can also enhance its already attractive shape and keep it smaller than if you allow it to reach its full potential. This makes it a popular plant even in the smallest outdoor spaces where it can make a significant impact with its colorful fall displays and spring blooms. Note that the Japanese stewartia is disease-free and not known to suffer from any such blights that some other similar trees may introduce to the garden.

Can I Grow a Stewartia in a Pot?

Can you grow a Japanese stewartia in a pot? Yes, if you fill a good-sized pool with acidic soil, as we mentioned early and mix in the compost, you can happily grow a younger tree in a pot. Due to restrictions on its roots, it does not grow at the same rate or the same size as trees planted in the ground. However, this solution is suitable for patios, for example, or yards that do not have loose soil. You could even grow a Japanese stewartia in a container on an apartment balcony for added greenery and seasonal color.

Read more: Cucumber Plants Dying From Bottom Up – How To Revitalize Your Garden


The Japanese stewartia is an easy to grow and simple to maintain tree that is attractive, versatile, and provides a beautiful year-round display of different colors. It is grown successfully across the USA in warmer and cooler regions, and a well-maintained Japanese stewartia can live for as long as 150 years. We recommend expanding the tree outdoors planted in the ground, but it can thrive in a potted environment if you take good care of it. We hope this guide has introduced you sufficiently to the beauty of the Japanese stewartia so go to your local garden store where they are sure to have them in stock.

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