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Similar but less problematic plants:
Betula nigra Betula nigra
Betula platyphylla var. japonica is often confused with:
Betula populifolia 'Whitespire' Betula platyphylla var. japonica 'Whitespire'
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Betula pendula form
Tilia americana Tilia americana
Betula papyrifera bark
Betula platyphylla var. japonica has some common insect problems:
Bronze Birch Borer

Asian White Birch Betula platyphylla var. japonica

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
BET-yoo-luh plat-TY-fil-uh var. juh-PON-ih-kuh
Description

Betula is Latin for birch and describes a genus of about 60 species of deciduous trees and shrubs found in many gardens and landscapes throughout the northern hemisphere. Betula platyphylla var. japonica, or Japanese White Birch, is a cultivar of Betula platyphylla with a pyramidal form, white bark that does not exfoliate, a central leader and thin, spreading, slightly pendant branches.

Birches are best grown in moist, acidic, sandy or rocky, well-drained loams in full sun to part shade. Best foliage color occurs in full sun, but if the plant is sited in an area of summer heat and humidity, it will appreciate afternoon partial shade. The plant does best in cool northern climates where summer temperatures rarely exceed 75 degrees F. and where root zones are generally covered with snow throughout the winter. Keep the tree consistently moist and consider using soaker hoses and bark mulches to keep the root zones cool and moist. It needs little pruning, but if necessary, you can prune during the dormant season. Do not prune in winter or spring when the sap is running because it will bleed.

Birches are considered a "pioneer" species and, thus, tends to grow quickly when young. Tiny monoecious (male and female) flowers appear in early spring in separate catkins on the same tree. Greenish female flowers are followed by drooping cone-like fruits containing numerous small winged seeds that typically mature in late summer.

Diseases, Insects, and Other Plant Problems:

Birches can become stressed by summer heat and humidity. It is not recommended for planting south of USDA Zone 7. If stressed, birches can become vulnerable to the bronze birch borer which infects and kills trees. Aphids, leaf miner and birch skeletonizer may also occur. Watch for leaf spot problems.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#white#sun#deciduous#fall color#full sun#partial shade#wildlife plant#white bark#tree#flowering tree#catkins#birch#larval host plant#butterfly friendly#pollinator garden#eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#white#sun#deciduous#fall color#full sun#partial shade#wildlife plant#white bark#tree#flowering tree#catkins#birch#larval host plant#butterfly friendly#pollinator garden#eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Betula
    Species:
    platyphylla
    Family:
    Betulaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Manchuria, Korea, and Japan
    Fire Risk Rating:
    medium flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    This plant supports the larvae of Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilo glaucus). They have three flights from February-November in the deep south and March-September in the north. The adult Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterflies feed on milkweed, joe pye weed, wild cherry, and lilac.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    tolerates deer
    Edibility:
    Sap has been used to make vinegar.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 40 ft. 0 in. - 50 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 15 ft. 0 in. - 25 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Pyramidal
    Spreading
    Weeping
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3b, 3a, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Nut
    Fruit Description:
    Female flowers are followed by drooping cone-like fruits containing numerous small winged seeds that typically mature in late summer.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Catkin
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Tiny monoecious flowers appear in early spring in separate catkins on the same tree: yellowish-brown male flowers in drooping catkins (to 3 inches long) and greenish female flowers in smaller, upright catkins (to 1 1/4 inches long).
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Doubly Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    This plant has 1.5 to 3 inch, alternate, and simple leaves that turn a yellow fall color.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Gray
    White
    Surface/Attachment:
    Papery
    Peeling
    Bark Description:
    White bark
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Thin, spreading branches. Young twigs have resinous glands.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Asian Garden
    Butterfly Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rain Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Flowering Tree
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer