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Zones 2B, 3-9, 14-21, 26, 28, 31-41
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Moderate

Halesia

Styracaceae
Deciduous, Trees

Elegant flowering trees native to the southeastern U.S.; the put on the best floral show in cold-winter areas. Bell-shaped white flowers bloom in spring, usually just as leaves begin to appear. Because the blossoms are pendent, they show off best when you can look up into the tree. Leaves turn yellow in fall. Brown, winged fruits hang on almost all winter—or even into spring or summer. Plants grow best in cool, deep, humus-rich soil. Attractive in woodland gardens, with rhododendrons and azaleas planted beneath.

Halesia carolina (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)
Halesia carolina (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)

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Halesia carolina

Grows to 30–40 ft. tall, with a 20–35-ft. spread. Clusters of 1/2–1/4-in. white bells appear in spring as leaves emerge. Oval, finely toothed, 2–5-in.-long leaves. Fruit has four wings. Train the plant to a single trunk when young or it will grow as a large shrub.

‘Wedding Bells’, which grows to about 15 ft. tall and wide, has larger flowers.

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