Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.

Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.
The purpose of this blog is to provide information on using native plants in the landscape, issues related to invasive exotic plants, urban wildlife management, and wildlife damage management. It is my intention that this information will assist you in deciphering the multitude of information circulating around the web and condense in some meaningful method as it relates to Kentucky. In addition, I hope to highlight a native plant that can be used in the landscape.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Plant of the Week: Carolina Silverbell (Halesia tetraptera)

Perhaps one of the most loved small flowering trees planted throughout Kentucky is the flowering dogwood (Cornus florida).  It is a quintessential sign of spring as those beautiful white trees stick out against the background of a forest returning to green of summer.  While the flowering dogwood is an excellent landscape plant, perhaps as an alternative you might want something a little different.to provide that outstanding white color, the Carolina Silverbell.  There is nothing more delicate and showy than a Carolina silverbell in full flower. This tree has lots of interest because in the spring it has clusters of 1/2 to 1" long bells that hang below the branches, in the summer it has interested "Chinese latern" like seed pods, and in the fall it usually turns a nice yellow color. In the wild it usually occurs as a multistemmed understory species that doesn't exceed 35' tall but it can be found as a single stemmed tree growing to heights of 80 to 100'.  It flowers best with full sun to partial shade but it can tolerate quite a bit of shade and is an excellent specimen plant or focal point in the woodland garden.  It likes somewhat acidicm well-drained soils high in organic matter and doesn't care much for clay.It has dull, finely toothed, dark yellowish-green, oblong leaves ranging from 2-5" long.  Great companion plants and a special area of a woodland garden would be to have a silverbell surrounded by our native azaleas which would be very showy. It gets its name tetraptera which means 4- winged from the 4 winged fruits it produces.  There are a fair number of cultivars available in the trade and some have more pinkish flowers. This is a fairly slow growing species.

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