The Carolina silverbell (also incorrectly listed as H. carolina), native to the southeastern United States, is little known in its native country, but it is very popular abroad. That's a shame, since it is one of the best North American flowering trees.
Description of Carolina silverbell: This small tree or large shrub -- 40 to 60 feet high in the wild -- often grows multistemmed, but can be pruned to tree form when young. It is pyramidal in youth, but matures to a round-headed form. The smooth gray to black bark eventually becomes covered in scaly plates. The deciduous leaves are elliptic and dark yellowish green in the summer, turning to yellow in the fall. The entire tree is often covered in inch-long, wedding-bell-shaped white flowers in the spring. The seed pods, with two to four wings, are decorative in the fall.
How to grow Carolina silverbell: The Carolina silverbell is best suited to sun or semishade and rich, well-drained soils. It prefers slightly acid soils and becomes yellowed in alkaline conditions.
Uses for Carolina silverbell: This small tree is a good understory tree in tall forests and fits well into shrub borders and woodland settings.
Carolina silverbell related species: Halesia diptera, two winged silverbell, has a wide crown of horizontal-to-ascending branches lined with showy, flared white bells. The variety magniflora has larger flowers.
Carolina silverbell related varieties: 'Rosea' is a pink-flowered form.
Scientific name for Carolina silverbell: Halesia tetrapteraWant more gardening information? Try: