Anyone GROWING Stewartia?

michigoose(Z5OH)April 11, 2005

Ok...I'm really purplexed...I have a Stewartia pseudocamilia here and love it. I am in zone 6 in the middle of Connecticut, and it isn't in a microclimate in my yard. In fact, it is quite exposed.

I am moving to Troy, OH which has daily averages 2 degrees warmer year round than here....I have been watching the weather since August and can confirm that.

There is an example growing in Ithaca, NY....However, one of the posters here who lives in Cincinatti says that it is marginally hardy there....which perplexes me as since I grow it here, I, in theory at least, should be able to grow it in Troy. So, does anyone grow it, or has tried it in the Dayton/Troy area? Thanks.

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cliff98(z6 OH)

Both Stewartia pseudocamellia and Stewartia koreana are completely hardy in Cincinnati. Many garden centers and nurseries have carried them for years.
I don't think you will have any problems growing them, but unfortunately the area north of dayton can have some wicked winters, so maybe a slightly protected spot couldn't hurt.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2005 at 10:44PM
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I live zone 5/6 about an hour north and east of Columbus. I have tried a total of 5 stewartias.... all have died within a couple years. Got them from 3 different sources... the last 2 came from north east of Cleveland, where they had been growing in pots outside for several years. I've tried them on every side of my house. They still died.

I just love them. About 40 miles away, at Dawes Arboretum, they have a small grove of full grown Stewartias. I think I remember from a class I took there that they are some of the oldest in the country.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2005 at 9:40PM
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doniki(z5/6 NE Ohio)

I don't know the exact circumstances in regards daylilyfan's growing of stewartia, but I believe they are fully hardy throughout OH, from my experience. I have Stewartia Pseudocamellia and it is a great plant... It was planted in 2001 and is now about 8-10ft, bushy, but slow growing... It is in a fairly exposed site and has been through -10F in the winter of 2003-2004.... It appreciates a moist, yet well drained soil... NO Clay.... The new leaves are somewhat tender and can be easily damaged by temps that are at or near 32F. It took a year or two for mine to become established and bloom, but the last couple of summers, my stewartia has put on a great show in late May/early June... when most other flowering trees are done. I know that there are quite a few specimens (20-25ft) on the east side of Cleveland that had to have been through Jan. 1994, when we hit an all time low of -20 to -25F here in the NE part of the state. I am very fond of the "late" season blooms, but most fond of the exfoliating bark that gives us some interest in winter... the patches of green/brown/gray...etc... are great...
Our temps are more moderate up here in NE OH, because of lake Erie--- much of mid and southen Ohio have record lows colder than ours, but we have a greater number of days on average below freezing than Cincy does... which can be harder on woody plants than a quick extreme cold dip...

    Bookmark   April 16, 2005 at 10:49PM
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doniki(z5/6 NE Ohio)

Forgot to mention something....
One difference you will have in Cincy in comparison to where you are now in CT, is that you will have more summer heat stress days (days above 86F). Part shade is advisable to prevent leaf tips from drying out. Happy planting...

    Bookmark   April 16, 2005 at 11:00PM
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gillespiegardens(Z6 cinti ohio)


i symathize with you!! i am an experienced gardener and can grow most things - trees, shrubs perennials etc that are hardy for my area without any difficulty. i have all the conditions outlined by donika .... but maybe ill try it again. i was warned by the nurseyman who specializes in azaleas and stewartias in pennsylvania where i got it that it was marginally hardy for my area. since he is good friend of my mothers he gave it to me as a test plant. it was about 3.5 ft tall and very healthy. i was so upset when it finally gave up the ghost after a year or so. maybe it is our wildly fluctuating cincinnati winter temps and lack of reliable snow cover that is partly to blame.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2005 at 6:19PM
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cliff98(z6 OH)

I think the majority of problems arising with keeping a pseudocamellia healthy here in Cincy is derived from a few circumstances. First of all they are one of the most difficult plants to transplant. They seem to need an extended period of time to adapt to their new home. They also don't really enjoy alot of days above 86 degrees. I think they do much better in Cincinnati in morning sun, rather than full sun. And finally, they don't like clay, which excluding the bottomlands around Cincinnati, is what the majority of Cincy soil is. But this should in no way deter you from planting one. They are too beautiful in every season to not try and grow one.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2005 at 9:32PM
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lol... as I said, I'm moving to TROY, not Cincinati, I have looked at the daily high/lows throughout last year, and so far, from where I am in the center of CT, the temperatures in Troy are only 2 degrees higher than here.

I too have heavy clay, when you dig unamended soil, it comes out in bricks. No kidding. I have slipped and fallen from walking on the edge of my garden.

I will agree with the observation that they don't transplant well. Everything I have read indicates that, and the experience of two other gardening friends also attest to that, hence I am leaving my now 5' tree here. I think it was about 3 feet tall when I bought it. It does get afternoon shade, so I am happy to hear about the suggestion of only letting it get morning sun in my new digs. That might be a challenge because I intended to put it in a spot which gets a full southern exposure, or maybe Cincinati is enough warmer than the Troy/Dayton area that I don't really have to worry about it. I really love my little tree here, and it is a major bummer that I can't bring it...

Oh, another thing about it, it really does have delicate bark. Nicking it will really do in that branch. When I was first adopted by my Sib. husky, she nicked one of the multi-stems of the little tree, and wouldn't you died....especially heart breaking because it was the largest of the trunks. Doesn't it always happen that way?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2005 at 10:41AM
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cliff98(z6 OH)

Stewartia just might be the most finikiest plant we can plant here in the midwest, so it wouldn't suprise me to hear that merely nicking a stem caused it to die. Summertime in Ohio is pretty much uniform except where the lake influence is. The only major difference during the summer between Troy and Cincy, might be overnight lows in the city, other than that it will be hot and muggy, but welcome to the region!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2005 at 1:35PM
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doniki(z5/6 NE Ohio)

I don't think there is that much of a difference in growing conditions in SW Ohio... from Dayton to Cincinnati... although I'm sure that the city of Cincinnati is a solid zone 6, where as the Dayton area may be a bit colder between zone 5 and 6. I have seen quite a few Magnolia grandifloras, and Crepe myrtles in Cincy and not nearly as many as you head up towards Dayton... I think that one of the biggest problems in comparison with CT is that SW Ohio will have much higher humidity and warmer nights around 70F that not all plants appreciate. Also, no matter where you live in Ohio, we all experience extreme temperature swings--- It was 70F one day this January and a week later it was -5F up here in the Cleveland area... that is not easy on plants... Also there is never any rhyme or reason to summer precipitation... The last two years have been soakers, which is difficult on plants that are being transplanted into a clay based soil... On the other hand, we can also experience drought during July/August that can be equally damaging in that the roots can not transpire enough water to the plant to establish itself before the onset of winter...
I say that if you want to grow a Stewartia, go for it... There is no harm in trying... I've had great luck with it here in my part of the state. I've mostly seen S. pseudocamellia and S. koreana for sale here around Cleveland.. They appear to be the hardiest and most tolerant of midwestern growing conditions. There are some other varieties a believe that are only hardy to zone 6/7. I do know that there are some fairly mature specimens up here at the Holden Arboretum, though lake Erie does help us a bit to moderate temps, but gives us too much precip. Good luck

    Bookmark   April 18, 2005 at 8:45PM
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I've been nosing around - looking for a source for you. Most growers are up along Lake Erie east of Cleveland, but there is one listed sort of NE of Cincinnati. That one is wholesale only though. I used the ONLA Nursery Stock Survey, but I am concerned about it's validity as it said today is Tuesday 19 April 2000. About the best possibility I found for you from that survey is Oakland Garden Center & Nursery in Columbus - a wholesale and retail business. They show less than 50 4' plants in containers and less than 50 6' B&B. I'd deal with the location on Oakland Park as that's where the bulk of the plants are stored. And everything there will be in heal-in as they bring in all their plants from other sites/nurseries. Easy to get to(take the N. Broadway Exit on I-71) and they have a tremendous selection of plant material as well. See the link I entered below. 'Bout the best I can do for you for now. Now this doesn't mean those nurseries near Troy that I referred to you in another thread won't have the tree - you might want to call them and inquire.

Here is a link that might be useful: Oakland Park

    Bookmark   April 19, 2005 at 8:18AM
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This is wierd...I posted an answer, and it disappeared....Anyway, thanks so much mrgpag, this place looks wonderful, and I will check out the other places you mentioned in my original thread. My divisions (or at least part of them :) ) are now at the new house with a new neighbor watering for me....I'm lucky to have found the across the street neighbor is also a gardener with a pond (as soon as I can dig, I'll put one in too...I'm not leaving all my little friends behind). I really can't wait to get there...and wish I could wave a magic wand t make all this packing and mess here be gone.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2005 at 9:28AM
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nimblewill(z5 OH)

Michigoose, I don't suppose you're about to make a quick trip to Oakland, but FYI, I bought a stewartia there today. They have 7 or 8 in stock at $199 and at least one (not as nice) at a higher price. The $199 ones are about 5'. Wish me luck.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2005 at 9:02PM
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I was nursery hopping down in Cincinnati today and saw some very nice Stewartia pseudocamellia at a place called Earthscapes near the village of Loveland - at least 5 ft tall, full of flower buds in a container - $89. And they probably have some other plants that would interest you like VERY nice, large Endless Summer hydrangeas in a 5 gal container - $24. The place is located on Rt 48 just north of Loveland. And while you're in the area, visit Greenfield Plant Farn just north of Maineville off Rt 48.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2005 at 10:09PM
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oh man....oh man oh man oh man! mrpag, you are MAKING me drool...I hope they still have some in three weeks which is about the earliest I'll be able to get down there....altho...hmmmm maybe I can call them and pay for it with my credit card, to reserve them?

I did find out that probably the reason they are iffy in Cincinnati might be because of the warmth factor...they are hardy in zones 5b - it might be the hot summers which do them in rather than the cold winters...

    Bookmark   May 28, 2005 at 2:35PM
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gillespiegardens(Z6 cinti ohio)

Earthscapes is a great nursery with wonderfully reasonable prices and very healthy stock. The owner Peter White has been thru some personal difficult times and needs our support. it's not a slick operation or a polished garden center... its a down to earth for real nursery. Im sure you will love it when you visit there.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2005 at 10:47PM
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Does anyone grow the NATIVE Stewaria (macolodendron or oavata)? They are native to the SE U S and maybe a better plant for the lower midwest. I plan to try them here if I can ever locate the plants or seeds. Anyone have any sources for these? Thanks

    Bookmark   July 17, 2005 at 3:02PM
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bbehan, I've never seen that one listed or carried anywhere, and I am always seeking out natives (DOWN WITH NORWAY MAPLES! lol). I'll keep my eyes peeled...Do these have the exfoliating bark and flowers like the Japanese variety?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2005 at 10:30PM
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So - did you acquire your tree?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2005 at 12:56AM
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Not yet...I'm still unpacking...I'm hoping to make a trip down to earthscapes when dh and dd go to FL. :) Stealth trip.

I've been madly planting stuff I brought from CT, trying to make dd un-bored....unpacking, scraping wallpaper....and I made a trip back to CT to get the last dregs out of the house....a VERY sad trip as I discovered that the new people will indeed bulldoze the gardens, so I was trying to grab stuff and bare root them to get them home....which left me with more stuff to plant/pot up once I got here....I've been having nightmares about my poor garden in Ct...oh well...time to let go I guess. I should be happy with what I got out, but I could use so much more of what I left behind...and they were all soo beautiful...I was hoping to bring back more Japanese painted fern and Sib. iris, but things were a little set back when I found out my goldfish pond had just about been drained by accident (3" of water left) so I was madly yanking a couple of things, filling pond, clearing out the boxes, dust, dirt, etc. from attic and basement....

I'm such a stupidhead...I forgot to grab some of my jack-in the pulpits...grrrr....

    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 11:14AM
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Dear Forum Members:

Today, I just found this forum, so, ... I'm a new poster.

I need help, ....and, fast!!

Yesterday, I purchased a tall, single-stem, 10ft. tall "STEWARTIA PSEUDOCAMELLIA", in full bloom. The container looks to be at least 7 gallons, or, slightly larger. I plan to plant this tree in the center of a stone tree-ring, about 51/2 ft. diameter, and 16"-18" deep. The tree-ring will be constructed on top of a cement/concrete patio, that measures about 15ft square, so the roots of this tree, as they spread out, will be contained/constrained only in this volume of soil.The tree-ring will be nothing but a giant, container in which this tree will grow. The patio is on the north side of my house, and gets full sun, in the summer, only in the morning, but by the late afternoon, the TOP of the tree, will be, once again, in full sun, until the sun sinks below my roof. The base/root area, will be in shade. In Winter, there's plenty of sun in the morning only. Of course, in the Summer, the concrete patio acts as a giant heat-sink, and I'm sure heat will also radiate into the soil contained in this tree-ring, as the temp's. start to drop in the Autumn. Do these conditions qualify this spot as a "micro-climate", .... good, or, bad?

After reading through dozens of postings discussing the pros and cons of this tree, I must say that I'm not feeling very encouraged that I made the right choice of planting this particular tree, in this particular situation. Do you think this tree needs a different planting site, or, do you think it will survive, and thrive, planted in the limited volume of soil contained within this tree-ring? Should I build a bigger ring, .... maybe 6ft - 7ft. diameter? What soil mix should I use? What kind of fertilizer, "Hollytone", "Miracid", etc. Should I dig out some soil, every few years, perhaps around the edges of the pit, and replace the spent soil with a fresh charge of new soil? Will the roots need some light pruning to keep them healthy, and encourage new feeder roots to sprout, Is a mulch recommended?

Please, give me some opinions. However, keep in mind that the tree is a done deal, I can't return it at this point, and, the tree-ring on top of the concrete patio is really the only place that this tree can be planted. Given these growing parameters/restrictions, what's the best way to keep this tree alive and happy?

By the way, the blossoms remind me of fried eggs, ... white on the outside, with golden-yellow centers. Too bad that there is no fragrance for such a pretty flower. Ain't Nature strange? I really want this tree to grow and thrive in this spot.

By the way, I am not new to gardening, so get technical, if you must, with your cultural, and growing suggestions.

Thanks for all the help you may offer. I'll await your answers in hopeful anticipation of a happy outcome for my new tree.


Frank DV...from: DA-BRONX

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 3:28PM
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I planted a Stewartia pseudocamilia here in Massachusetts last year. I bought it at a local garden center across the Conneticut River in Hadley. It flowered last year but not so far this summer. We had a spell of really cold weather (-14 degrees) last winter. Do you think that may be the cause of no flowering? Other than this the plant is very healthy.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 12:53PM
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neonrider(USDA 8A ^ Sunset 31 ^ Mid-SC)

I attempted to germinate Stewartia monadelpha seeds, but none germinated. They are very hard and complicated to germinate (takes many months to prepare for the germination) and their little plants are very expensive and hard to find. Then I tried to grow one and it started browning and declining. Now, mysteriously, it started growing again. I suppose they hate being in a container and are not good for commercial propagation.
Regarding Stewartia pseudocamelia, I planted one in spring in my zone, it developed leaves rapidly and there was one bloom and then it stopped. Something is devouring its leaves and it does not look happy in zone 8 even in the partial shade under pine trees.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 4:46PM
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