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Japanese Snowbell Tree

japanese snowbell

The Japanese Snowbell tree, Styrax japonicus, is a small flowering tree that lends itself to plantings near patios and decks.

Tree expert Scott Zanon describes it as an excellent low-branched tree with a distinct horizontal appearance. It is an underused tree that grows in zones 5 to 8, and eventually it may reach 20-30 feet in height.

It should be planted either in full sun or part shade and prefers moist, well-drained, somewhat acidic soil. During hot periods, it needs to be well watered, and in cold climates situate it where it will be sheltered from cold winds.

The bark of this tree is interesting, as it is smooth and grey/brown colored with unusual irregular brownish-orange fissures. In May or June, delicate bell-shaped white flowers imbued with a slight fragrance are suspended from long stems.

Some lovely cultivars are ‘Emerald Pagoda', which has a columnar habit and large flowers, and ‘Pendula', which has a compact weeping form.

If you like pink, you may want to plant ‘Pink Chimes'. It has multi-seasonal interest with attractive branching when it is bare in winter, lovely pink blooms in the spring, as well as attractive gray fruit in August or September and colorful fall foliage.

Reference: Landscaping with Trees in the Midwest by Scott Zanon.

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