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Halesia carolina

The bark is attractive, the fall color is pleasing and the summer foliage is sensational but the lovely, bell-shaped flowers trump all other ornamental features on this under-used native tree. Flowers can persist on the tree for ten days or more and even after the blossoms fall, they can be a lovely carpet on the ground below. Makes a fine understory plant as it tolerates semi-shade but also does well in full sun if adequate soil conditions and moisture levels are present. This is a small tree maturing at 25’-30. Remarkably trouble free with almost no instances of insect or disease problems.

Silverbell is one of my favorite small trees. If you place it in a location where a lawn will be in the background, you will be able to enjoy both the spring flowers (which are most effective in front of a green background) and the informal growth habit and winter fruits which stand out in front of a snow-covered landscape. It performs very well as a naturalizing plant at the edge of a woodland, just be sure to have a dark background for floral contrast.

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