Best grown in medium moisture, humusy, well-drained loams in full sun to part shade. Appreciates some afternoon shade in hot summer climates.
Stewartia, mountain stewartia or mountain camellia is a deciduous small understory tree or large shrub that is primarily native to wooded stream banks and bluffs bases in the Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont from Virginia to Alabama. It is noted for its camellia-like flowers, rich dark green summer foliage and orange-scarlet fall color. It typically grows to 10-15’ tall with a shrubby habit. Ovate to elliptic, dark green leaves (to 5-6” long) have broadly winged leafstalks. Leaves turn attractive shades of orange and red in fall. Five-petaled white flowers (to 3” diameter) with orange anthers bloom in July when few other trees are in bloom. Flowers give way to 5-parted woody seed capsules that split open when ripe. This tea family member is closely related to Camellia, Franklinia and Gordonia. Genus name honors John Stuart, 16th century Scottish botanist and 3rd Earl of the Isle of Bute.
No serious insect or disease problems. Leaf scorch may occur in full sun exposures in hot summer climates.
Lawn specimen, patios, shrub borders or native plant gardens. This uncommon tree deserves a prominent position in the landscape.