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Halesia Carolina, also known as Carolina Silverbell is a small deciduous flowering tree or spreading shrub with magnificent snowbell flowers between March and May.
In early spring Carolina Silverbell shoots new large leaves measuring 16cms in length. The leaves are mid-green, shaped ovate to elliptic and make the perfect background to its snow-white bell-shaped flowers with bright yellow centres that appear just before the foliage breaks through. On mature specimens the clusters of snowdrop flowers hang in profusion from many branches nodding their bells in the breeze. The blooms, which measure 2cms in diameter, have a delicate, sweet scent. Flowers last until May before ripening into four winged seeds that remain on the branches into winter, long after the beautiful buttery yellow foliage has fallen with the frosts of late autumn. Seeds emerge green but develop a brown papery texture as they mature.
In winter the branches on both tree and shrub versions boldly stand out with their dangling collection of seeds.
Height and Spread of Halesia Carolina
Carolina Silverbell can grow to a maximum height of eight metres and spread over ten metres. It can be contained with regular pruning.
How Hardy Is Halesia Carolina
Halesia Carolina is hardy in the UK down to sub-zero temperatures, but it will not cope well in exposed, windy locations of northern regions.
How To Use Halesia Carolina
This is a beautiful specimen tree or shrub that can be grown as part of a wide border or on the edge of woodland. The delicate scent attracts all pollinators and birds enjoy the shelter of its large leaves. If you can plant Carolina Silverbell so it grows over a bench you can admire the flowers from beneath which is to their best advantage. It looks good under-planted with seasonal bulbs and teamed with camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons for a year-round display.
How To Care For Halesia Carolina
Carolina Silverbell prefers neutral to acid soil. It will struggle to grow and bloom in chalky, sandy or alkaline environments.
It’s best grown in a sheltered spot that’s free from freezing and drying winds. Although it prefers sunlight it will cope with partial shade too.
This small tree or shrub doesn’t require regular pruning unless you want to restrict its height. Cut out any broken or crossed stems in its winter dormancy, and remove up to a third of the branch length if you want to keep it smaller. It grows best with a thick application of mulch around its roots in the spring and frequent watering during dry spells.
See also Carolina Silverbell Snowdrop Tree.
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