Japanese Stewartia

Stewartia pseudocamellia

Family: Stewartia

Type: Tree

Japanese Stewartia, known scientifically as Stewartia pseudocamellia, is a stunning ornamental tree prized for its year-round beauty. This tree is celebrated for its camellia-like white flowers that bloom in the summer and its striking, multicolored bark that adds winter interest. Stewartia pseudocamellia is a fantastic choice for those looking to add a specimen tree to their landscape.

Typically growing to about 20-40 feet in height, this slow-growing tree has a pyramidal to oval shape that becomes more rounded with age. It’s ideal for small gardens, woodland settings, and as a focal point in larger landscapes. The tree’s elegant form, along with its showy flowers and attractive bark, makes it a standout in any garden setting.

Preferring full sun to partial shade, Japanese Stewartia thrives in well-drained, acidic to neutral soil. It requires regular watering, particularly in its younger years, to establish a deep root system. This tree is known for its low maintenance requirements once established, making it a beautiful and hassle-free addition to the garden.

Needs & Preferences

Hardiness Zone: 6a-4a

Pet Friendly: Yes

Moisture Preference: Moist

Sun Needs: Full sun to shade


Growth Rate: Slow

Average Height (feet): 40

Average Spread (feet): 30

Average Life Span (years): 70

Form: Pyramidal


Flower Color: White

Bloom Season: In mid summer

Foliage Color: Green

Leaf Fall Color: Red

Foliage Shape: Pointy

Bark Color: Khaki

Bark Texture: Mottled

Landscaping Your Yard With Japanese Stewartia

Japanese Stewartia is perfect for creating a focal point in landscape designs. Its graceful form, beautiful flowers, and unique bark make it an excellent choice for drawing attention. Plant it where its beauty can be appreciated throughout the seasons, such as near patios or along walkways.

Incorporate this tree into mixed borders or woodland gardens. Its understory nature and adaptability to partial shade make it suitable for layering with other plants. Japanese Stewartia is also effective in creating a naturalized, forest-like setting in larger gardens.

Due to its ornamental value, Japanese Stewartia can be used as a standalone specimen in lawns or open areas. It pairs well with a variety of shrubs and perennials, enhancing garden aesthetics with its distinct characteristics.


Suitable Garden Styles

Japanese Garden

In Japanese gardens, Stewartia pseudocamellia adds an element of elegance and tranquility. Its refined shape and subtle beauty align with the minimalist and naturalistic style of Japanese landscaping.

Woodland Garden

For woodland gardens, Japanese Stewartia is a natural fit. Its preference for dappled shade and organic-rich soil complements a forested environment.

Formal Garden

In formal gardens, Japanese Stewartia can be used as a specimen tree. Its symmetrical growth habit and year-round interest make it a suitable centerpiece for formal design.

Japanese Stewartia Landscaping Ideas

Use Japanese Stewartia as a shade tree in serene garden settings. Its canopy provides dappled shade, ideal for understory plantings. Surround it with shade-loving perennials or groundcovers that complement its beauty.

Seasonal Interest


In spring, Japanese Stewartia begins to leaf out, displaying fresh, green foliage that sets the stage for its summer blooms.


During summer, the tree is adorned with beautiful white flowers, offering a stunning display against the lush green leaves.


In the fall, its leaves turn vibrant shades of orange, red, and purple, providing spectacular autumnal color.


In winter, the tree's exfoliating bark in shades of gray, brown, and reddish-brown adds significant interest to the winter landscape, making it a focal point even in the coldest months.

Planting Tips

Where to Plant

Japanese Stewartia should be planted in a location with full sun to partial shade, preferably sheltered from strong winds. It’s ideal for use in lawns, woodland gardens, or as a specimen tree in a mixed border.


This tree thrives in full sun to partial shade. Full sun exposure encourages the most prolific blooming, while partial shade is beneficial in hotter climates.


Stewartia pseudocamellia prefers acidic to neutral, well-drained soil. It's important to ensure good drainage to prevent root rot.


When planting, consider its mature size and provide ample space for growth, typically about 20-30 feet from other large trees or structures.

When to Plant

The best time to plant Japanese Stewartia is in the spring or early fall, allowing the tree to establish its root system during moderate weather conditions.

How to Plant

Dig a hole twice as wide and just as deep as the root ball. Place the tree in the hole, backfill with soil, water thoroughly, and apply mulch to conserve moisture.

Plant Care Tips


Regular watering is crucial during the first few years. Once established, Japanese Stewartia is moderately drought-tolerant but benefits from occasional watering during prolonged dry spells.


Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring to support healthy growth. Avoid over-fertilizing, which can harm the tree.


Pruning is generally not needed but can be done to remove dead or damaged branches. Any pruning should be done in late winter or early spring before new growth starts.

By Season


Spring Care

Check for any winter damage and prune if necessary. Begin regular watering and apply fertilizer as new growth appears.

Summer Care

Continue regular watering, especially during hot, dry periods. Monitor for pests and diseases.

Fall Care

Reduce watering as the tree prepares for dormancy. No fertilization is needed during this time.

Winter Care

Provide a layer of mulch for root protection in colder climates. Japanese Stewartia typically does not require special winter care.


How Fast Does Japanese Stewartia Grow?

Japanese Stewartia is a slow-growing tree, often taking several years to reach its full height.

Is Japanese Stewartia Suitable for Small Gardens?

Yes, due to its slow growth rate and manageable size, it can be a good choice for small gardens.

Does Japanese Stewartia Have Invasive Roots?

No, Stewartia pseudocamellia does not have invasive roots, making it suitable for planting near walkways and structures.

Products That Feature This Plant

Zen Garden

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