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Carolina Silverbell- Halesia carolina is a lovely native tree that could make a good replacement for the Bradford Pear. It is similar in size, blooms in April and won’t take over the neighborhood. The flowers hang in drooping clusters and are white with golden anthers in the center. The flowers are attractive to all kinds of pollinating insects. Fall color is a glowing golden yellow.
In its native environment, it is normally an understory tree that grows to 30′ to 40′ but it flowers better and has a better form in full sun. While normally a small tree, in the heart of its native range and under the best conditions it can become a forest canopy tree 80′ tall. Few of us will ever see such forest giants but they must be glorious to behold.
Carolina Silverbell prefers rich moist soils but is somewhat adaptable. It is a tree that actually likes an amended soil with lots of leaf mould and organic matter. It grows along stream banks and in moist mountain forests. It needs an acid soil like azaleas or blueberries. It can take any of several forms of growth. It can be a large shrub if left untrained. It can be a multi-trunked tree or can be pruned to a single trunk like a traditional tree.
Carolina Silverbell is hardy in zones 4 to 8.