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Halesia spp.

Pronunciation: Haylz-ee-uh
Family: Styracaceae (storax or silverbells family)
Common Name: Carolina silverbells, silverbells, two-winged silverbells
Plant Type:
  • trees, shrubs
Height to: 30'
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • -20 to -30ºF ZONE 4
  • -10 to -20ºF ZONE 5
  • 0 to -10ºF ZONE 6
  • 10 to 0ºF ZONE 7
  • 20 to 10ºF ZONE 8
Sun Exposure:
  • full shade
  • part sun
  • full sun
Bloom Description: The leaves of both species turn yellow in fall. But it's the dainty white bell shaped flowers that hang from leafless branches in early spring that make these two natives stand out. The flowers of the carolina silverbells are about 3/4 in (1. 9 cm) long with the petals fused for about 3/4 of their length whereas those of the two-winged silverbells are about 1 in (2. 5 cm) long, with petals joined for less than half their length. The curious fruits, a little more than 1 in (2. 5 cm) long with two or four lengthwise "wings", dangle like little ornaments all summer and fall.
Plant Perks:
  • Fall Foliage
  • Attracts Hummingbirds
Propagation: The seeds of silverbells usually require two chilling seasons before they will break dormancy and germinate. The trees also can be propagated by layering and by stem and root cuttings
Native to: Both species of silverbells grow in rich mesic woods in floodplains and on the lower slopes of forested ravines. The carolina silverbells occurs from west virginia and kentucky to arkansas and south to northern florida. The two-winged silverbells has a more southern distribution, occurring on the coastal plain from south carolina to northern florida and west to eastern texas. Both are understory trees, tolerant of considerable shade and occasional flooding.
Notes for Identification: Source: floridatacare: once established, silverbells require little care. They won't need supplemental watering or fertilizing and they won't need spraying for pests or diseases. Silverbells do best in slightly acidic soils; do not add lime. Prune occasionally to maintain desired size and shape. Both species of silverbells make beautiful specimen trees in the dappled shade of a large live oak or on the edge of a woodland garden. Silverbells are dazzling when festooned with thousands of pendulant snowy white flowers, about the time the dogwoods finish blooming. They are, regrettably, more popular as ornamentals in europe and the northern us than in their native southeastern united states. Choose two-winged silverbells for zones 7-9, and carolina silverbells for zones 4-8. The large flowered variety of two-winged silverbells sometimes is available at native plant nurseries in florida and other southeastern states.
Located in: Trees, Shrubs
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