May Plant of the Month: Halesia tetraptera (H. Carolina, H. monticola) – Carolina Silverbell
Want to add a beautiful flowering tree for mid-May? One that people will take notice of in spring, and other seasons too? Consider the Carolina Silverbell — Halesia tetraptera (H. Carolina, H. monticola).
Sure, so many trees are abloom at this time of year that many get overlooked but this tree is special: smallish (1/2 – 1” long) bell-shaped white or pinkish flowers appear in clusters, hanging in supple, shimmering arrangements that are showy and unusual.
The yellow-green leaves persist well into the fall season, without any super fall show, but as they drop reveal an interesting ovoid, 4-sided winged fruit that persists throughout the winter months.
The tree reaches a height of 30’ or more, with a similar spread, and can be single or multi-stemmed. As the tree matures the bark develops a striking pattern of gray, brown and black stripes. Plant this tree as a specimen or in small groves. Site within well drained, moist, acid (forest-like) soils for best results.
A native tree to the Southeastern US, Halesia is hardy to zone 5