The Japanese Stewartia is a deciduous tree that has showy, white, camellia-like flowers. It has elliptic, mid-green leaves with toothed margins ad woody, brown seed capsules. It is cultivated as an ornamental tree for its flowers, its colorful, flaking bark and its attractive fall coloration. Hardy in zones 6-8.
Growing Instructions for the Japanese Stewartia
The seeds need to be planted when received or stored in a refrigerator until they are planted. The seeds have a period of dormancy. They have to have a period of warm, spring and summer temperatures followed by a period of cold, winter-like temperatures to break their dormancy. They can be planted outdoors in the spring or summer to germinate the following spring or they can be stratified to break their dormancy at any time of the year. 1. Soak the seeds in water for 24 hours. 2. Warm stratify the seeds. Put the seeds in moistened peat or sand and put the mixture in a sealed ziplock bag. Store it in an area with temperatures between 68 and 85 degrees F. Store it there for 120 days. 3. Cold stratify the seeds. Put the ziplock bag with the seeds in a refrigerator and store it there for 90 days. 4. Plant the seeds. The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Use a sterile seed starter mix, if available. It prevents soil fungi from damaging the seeds and the seedlings. If not available, then make a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. 5. Put the soil in a pot. 6. Sow the seeds ¼ of an inch deep. 7. Water the soil so that it is moist but not wet. 8. When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.