- Lily of the valley trees;
- Halesia carolina;
- Halesia diptera;
- Halesia monticola;
- Features of cultivation and reproduction of Halesia;
- Features of growing Enkianthus;
- Strawberry trees;
- Arbutus andrachne;
- Arbutus unedo;
- Arbutus x andrachnoides;
- Arbutus menziesii;
- Features of growing strawberry trees;
Today I have prepared something special for you — a story about stunningly beautiful exotic trees and shrubs. Due to their unusual appearance and comparison with more familiar plants, they have received interesting names.
Currently, the demand for these trees is great, but in order to get a positive result of the “summer cottage introduction”, we will not only clarify their winter hardiness, but also analyze important nuances of cultivation. So, meet me!
Lily of the valley trees
Under this name, several species with drooping snow-white bell-shaped flowers, like Convallaria majalis, are hidden at once. Flowering begins before the leaves bloom — and is so abundant that it impresses everyone with its beauty. It’s just a pity that the flowers don’t smell like lily of the valley.
Lovers of exotic plants successfully grow three deciduous species of Halesia, from the Styracaceae family.
Halesia carolina, syn. H. tetraptera is a spreading tree or shrub 8 m high and 10 m wide. She is originally from the southeastern United States. Young shoots are stellate pubescent. The most hardy: the Missouri Botanical Garden gives her zones 4-8.
The leaves are oval to elliptical, finely toothed, up to 16 cm long, acquiring a bright yellow color in autumn. Flowers up to 2 cm long, collected in axillary bundles of 2-6; bloom in late spring. After flowering, four-winged green fruits are formed.
H. diptera is a spreading shrub or small tree 6 m high and 10 m wide . It is native, like the previous species, from the southeastern United States. Winter hardiness zones (according to USDA) — 5-8.
The leaves are elliptical to obovate, up to 14 cm long. Flowers up to 2 cm long, in bundles of 3-6; bloom in early summer. The fruits are diptera, green. There is a variety of var. magniflora (flowers are larger, up to 3 cm long).
H. monticola is a tree with a conical crown, 12 m high and 8 m wide. It comes from the USA (North Carolina, Arkansas). Winter hardiness zones (according to USDA) — 5-8.
The leaves are large, up to 20 cm long. Flowers up to 2.5 cm long, collected in bundles of 2-5; bloom in May. The fruits are green, four-winged. There is a decorative form of f. rosea (pink flowers) and a variety of var. vestita (leaves are larger, flowers sometimes with a pink tinge).
Features of cultivation and reproduction of Halesia
In the first years of planting, the base is mulched with an organic substrate (peat, humus, dry leaves), and the plant itself is carefully wrapped with burlap or special covering materials and secured with soft twine. Halesia likes loose, drained, moist — from neutral to acidic – soils. It is better not to plant them from the north side, because they do not tolerate deep shading, and they also do not like places that are not covered from the winds. Propagated by freshly harvested seeds. Sowing — in autumn at a temperature of + 14…+ 25 ° C in a wiring box or pot, after 2 months, the crops are placed in a cold greenhouse. Vegetatively propagated in summer by semi-woody cuttings.
Last April I met Enkianthus campanulatus f. albiflorus. This member of the Ericaceae family is native to Japan. It is hardy (USDA zones 4-8), but in the first years after planting it will need your maximum attention.
A widely spreading deciduous shrub with a height and width of 4-5 m . The leaves are obovate to elliptical, up to 6 cm long. Its stunningly abundant and luxurious flowering is observed, as with Halesias, before the leaves bloom.
Features of growing Enkianthus
Like all Ericaceae, it is a mycorrhizal plant that loves acidic soils. Propagated by seeds (sowing – in late winter or early spring at a temperature of + 18…+21 °C) or semi-woody cuttings in summer.
Immediately 4 species from the Ericaceae family fall into this category due to the edible rounded red fruits with a powdery sweet pulp, similar to strawberries.
It is Arbutus andrachne that is called the Greek strawberry tree. Its natural range is the Eastern Mediterranean, Asia Minor. This is a relict Mediterranean species on the northern border of the range. It grows on coastal dry limestone and slate slopes up to a height of 300-400 m above sea level. Winter hardiness (according to USDA) – zones 7-10.
It is a sprawling evergreen tree 6-10 m high and 6 m wide. The spectacular red bark peels off in summer. The leaves are oval or oval-oblong, 5-10 cm long. The flowers are similar to lily of the valley: bell-shaped, white, small, collected in erect panicles; they bloom in April-May. Orange-red berries with a diameter of 1-1.5 cm, appear in June, persist on branches for a long time and become sweet in winter. It bears fruit from the age of 5 annually and abundantly.
Arbutus unedo is an evergreen tree or shrub with a height and width of 8 m, with a darkish bark, not as beautiful as the previous species. He is originally from Southeastern Europe, Turkey. Winter hardiness zones (according to USDA) — 7-10.
Leaves up to 10 cm long. The flowers are small, white, sometimes with a pink tinge, collected in drooping panicles up to 5 cm long, bloom in autumn. The fruits are spherical red berries up to 2 cm in diameter with a pleasant sweet pulp.
Arbutus x andrachnoides
A. x andrachnoides was obtained as a result of hybridization of A. andrachne x A. unedo. Winter hardiness zones (according to USDA) — 7-10.
It is an evergreen tree with a height and width of 8 m, with a wide crown and reddish bark. Leaves up to 10 cm long . Semi-flowering inflorescences are panicles about 8 cm long.
A. menziesii is an evergreen tree or shrub with peeling reddish-brown bark, 15 m high and wide. He is originally from the west of North America. Winter hardiness (according to USDA) – zones 6a(8)-9.
The leaves are oval, 5-15 cm long. Small white flowers are collected in erect panicles up to 20 cm long, bloom in early summer. The fruits are orange-red berries with a diameter of 1 cm.
Features of growing strawberry trees
It is important for everyone:
- when planting seedlings up to 2 m high, stakes are immediately placed on the windy side and tied up. Above 2 m — set stretch marks;
- blackening — on the 6th year after planting;
- watering in the first year is regular, in the 2nd-5th years – as the soil dries up. Then — only in drought;
- it is important to feed fertilizers for heather plants in the first 5 years before the start of growth;
- pruning consists in the gradual cleaning of 1-3 stems from branches to a height of up to 1 m, shortening of strong-growing shoots within the crown, removing weak-growing ones inside the crown, removing trunk and stem shoots.
And what interesting arboreal have you met? Which exotic did you like the most and what would you like to grow at your summer cottage?