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Stewartia sinensis - Chinese Stewartia

Stewartia sinensis (Chinese Stewartia) seeds


From China comes this rather fine, deciduous large shrub or small tree which is very rare in cultivation in this country and is ideally suited to Bonsai. It is particularly remarkable for its beautiful bark which in summer is perfectly smooth and the colour of sandstone, turning purple in autumn, before peeling away to make way for its new coat. The foliage starts off bright green and turns brilliant red in autumn. In late summer, bears lovely, fragrant, cup-shaped white flowers, 5cms across, which are made up of thick, fleshy petals. Truly a plant for all seasons! 

Winner of the RHS Award of Garden Merit

Hardy Shrub/Tree
Flowers: Late summer
Height: up to 7m
Position: Sun with shelter from strong winds

Packet of 12 seeds



These seeds have a double dormancy which needs to be broken before they will germinate, ie. they need to go through a process which simulates the changing seasons.

Sowing Instructions: Sow at any time of the year. Sow very thinly in trays or pots of moist, good quality seed compost (eg. John Innes) at a depth of 3mm and seal inside a polythene bag. Maintain an optimum temperature of 16-20C for 3 months, then place the container(s) in the fridge for a further 4 months. Then, return to 16-20C and germination should take place in 1-3 months. Throughout this process check regularly and ensure the compost does not dry out. Note: Germination can be very erratic, so sow thinly and prick out the seedlings as they become large enough to handle disturbing the rest of the compost as little as possible.

Alternatively, sow as above, seal in a polythene bag and place in a cold frame or sheltered part of the garden and let nature take its course as the seasons change.

Growing Instructions: Transplant seedlings when large enough to handle into 7.5cm pots. Over-winter at a temperature of about 5C. As with all trees/shrubs, it is probably best to grow the young trees on for at least a year repotting as necessary. When ready to plant out, harden off and plant out when all risk of frost has passed in fertile, well-drained soil in a sunny position, sheltered from strong winds.

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