2019 Arbor Day Seedling

2019 Arbor Day Seedling

Celebrate Arbor Day with a new plant!

As a part of our mission to promote horticulture and the cultivation of exceptional woody plants in our region, the Arnold Arboretum distributes exceptional plant material to other botanical institutions and to members of the Arboretum community. We continue to honor and build upon this legacy through the Arbor Day Seedling Program, which makes a seedling of a tree, shrub, or vine available in early spring to members of The Friends of the Arnold Arboretum as a benefit at the Sustaining ($100) level and above. Inaugurated in 1970 as the Spring Plant Dividend, the Arbor Day Seedling Program invites our members to cultivate a living part of our renowned collections in their own landscapes. Qualifying members receive a letter of invitation in February.

Stewartia pseudocamellia

Stewartia pseudocamellia (Japanese stewartia)

Stewartia pseudocamellia

(Japanese stewartia) Zones (4)5-7

Grow an ornamental tree with four seasons of interest! Japanese stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamellia) is a wonderful small to medium-sized tree with a pyramidal-oval habit. While it may grow to sixty feet tall in the wild, trees grown in cultivation typically top out at twenty to forty feet. Dark green foliage turns from yellow to red to deep maroon in autumn before defoliating. In July, pure white, cup-shaped flowers appear over several weeks with white filaments and bright orange anthers. Flowers give way to a five-valved capsule. The visual display extends into the winter months, when its multi-hued, exfoliating bark takes center stage.

Planting Instructions: Carefully unpack your plant. Woody plants that have broken dormancy do not fare well indoors, so you will want to get the plant outside as soon as conditions permit. Begin the hardening-off process after the last frost date, gradually transitioning the plant to outdoor conditions. One way to do this is to place it in a protected and partially shaded spot, either close to your house or in another protected location such as in the shade of an evergreen plant. Long periods of direct sunlight should be avoided during this time as it may burn the new foliage and reduce overall plant vigor. Once it has become acclimated to the rigors of being outside it will be ready for planting, preferably in a location that is protected from foot traffic and accidental breakage.

Plant in well-drained soil at the correct depth. The top of the root system should be level with the soil surface. The depth of the hole should accommodate the height of the roots and be left undisturbed to prevent settling, while the width of the hole should be at least two times the width of the root ball. This loosened soil will allow new roots to grow more quickly. After planting, apply mulch over the area, but do not allow mulch to contact the stem to reduce the likelihood of rot. Water well after mulching and continue to water (but not saturate) until established.