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Carolina Silverbell Halesia carolina

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Halesia tetraptera
Phonetic Spelling
ha-LESS-ee-ah kay-roh-LEE-nah
Description

Carolina silverbell is in the Styracaceae family.  In nature, it can be found growing in moist slopes, coves, creek-banks, and bottomlands. It can be grown as a large multitrunked shrub or trained into a small understory tree.  It is easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. It prefers moist, acidic, organically rich soils in part shade. It has an irregular, spreading, open crown and yellow fall color.  It suffers during drought so will need supplemental irrigation. Makes an attractive specimen plant for a lawn or in a shrub border or woodland garden.  Looks attractive planted with rhododendrons and azaleas. Sensitive to heat, drought, and soil compaction. 

Fire Risk: This plant has a low flammability rating.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No serious problems though not tolerant of salt or compacted soils.  Leaves can become chlorotic in high pH soils.

 

 

Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Crushed Velvet'
    Bluish green smaller size leaves with a wavy texture, fine textured branching
  • 'Meehanii'
    Rounded form large shrub shrub-like to 12' tall; white flowers, leaves coarse and wrinkled
  • 'Rosea'
    Pink flowers but depends on pH
  • 'Silver Splash'
    Green leaves with white or yellow splotches
  • 'Variegata'
    White or yellow variegated leaves
  • 'Wedding Bells'
    Smaller rounded form to 20' , numerous white flowers that open fully
Tags:
#cultivars#bees#hummingbirds#white#sun#showy flowers#deciduous#small tree#shade tree#full sun#partial shade#interesting bark#specimen#white flowers#acidic soil#wildlife plant#partial sun#deep shade#showy#native tree#pyramidal#shade tolerant#tree#nectar plant#piedmont#native shrub#shade garden#low maintenance#spring flowers#interesting fruit#fall interest#flowering tree#playground#coastal#lawn tree#showy bark#moist soil#food source#low flammability#NC native#well-drained soil#full sun flowers#flowering shrub#full sunlight#shrub border#children's garden#native garden#fire resistant#mountains#coastal plant#woodland#sunshine#summer interest#coast#coastal areas#borders#spring interest#acidic soil tolerant#pollinator plant#Braham Arboretum#late spring flowers#multitrunked#early spring flowers#larval host plant#summer fruits#deciduous tree#mid-spring flowers#food source nectar#food source pollen#patio planting#native#butterfly friendly#full shade#part sun#part shade#wildlife plants#flowering#flower#wildlife#butterflies#pollinators#pollinator garden
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Crushed Velvet'
    Bluish green smaller size leaves with a wavy texture, fine textured branching
  • 'Meehanii'
    Rounded form large shrub shrub-like to 12' tall; white flowers, leaves coarse and wrinkled
  • 'Rosea'
    Pink flowers but depends on pH
  • 'Silver Splash'
    Green leaves with white or yellow splotches
  • 'Variegata'
    White or yellow variegated leaves
  • 'Wedding Bells'
    Smaller rounded form to 20' , numerous white flowers that open fully
Tags:
#cultivars#bees#hummingbirds#white#sun#showy flowers#deciduous#small tree#shade tree#full sun#partial shade#interesting bark#specimen#white flowers#acidic soil#wildlife plant#partial sun#deep shade#showy#native tree#pyramidal#shade tolerant#tree#nectar plant#piedmont#native shrub#shade garden#low maintenance#spring flowers#interesting fruit#fall interest#flowering tree#playground#coastal#lawn tree#showy bark#moist soil#food source#low flammability#NC native#well-drained soil#full sun flowers#flowering shrub#full sunlight#shrub border#children's garden#native garden#fire resistant#mountains#coastal plant#woodland#sunshine#summer interest#coast#coastal areas#borders#spring interest#acidic soil tolerant#pollinator plant#Braham Arboretum#late spring flowers#multitrunked#early spring flowers#larval host plant#summer fruits#deciduous tree#mid-spring flowers#food source nectar#food source pollen#patio planting#native#butterfly friendly#full shade#part sun#part shade#wildlife plants#flowering#flower#wildlife#butterflies#pollinators#pollinator garden
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Halesia
    Species:
    carolina
    Family:
    Styracaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Native ornamental
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    West VA to OH to OK and IL, south to FL
    Distribution:
    Southeastern U.S.
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts hummingbirds, and supports 7 different species of lepidopteran caterpillars. It is a host plant for the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Mourning Cloak, Eastern Comma, Red-spotted Purple, and Viceroy butterflies. Buds and flower clusters are eaten by birds. Butterflies, bees, and other pollinators enjoy the nectar from the flowers.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    fire in the landscape.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 30 ft. 0 in. - 40 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 25 ft. 0 in. - 35 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Irregular
    Multi-trunked
    Open
    Pyramidal
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    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:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    An oblong 4-winged drupe which starts out green with a dark point at the base and turns brown persisting and providing winter interest. In North Carolina, fruits are available from August to September.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    White, pendulous bell-shaped 1/2"-3/4" long, in drooping clusters of 2-5 blooms from late April to May. Flowers appear on second year growth. In North Carolina, flowers are available from March to May.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblong
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves appear at the same time or just after bloom. They are finely toothed, dull, ovate-oblong finely toothed 2-5" long with rounded base and acute apex. Turn yellow in the fall but drop early.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Gray
    Light Gray
    Orange
    Surface/Attachment:
    Furrowed
    Ridges
    Bark Description:
    Young bark is gray with vertical dark fissures, mature bark is ridged and furrowed with orange bark appearing underneath.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Second-year stems appear stringy
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Patio
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Shade Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Small Tree
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Fire