Huodendron - Growing Guide

Huodendron Growing Guide

We sometimes have small quantities of Huodendron biaristratum and Huodendron tibeticum for sale on our website. Both are rare small evergreen trees from China, Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam which have not featured in UK gardens until recently.

At Burncoose and Caerhays we have had a few failures in trying to get them established and growing away. They react badly, especially as young plants, to cold east winds and can suffer leaf loss and dieback if not grown in the full shelter of other evergreen plants. We have now got H. tibeticum growing well at Burncoose where it has now achieved flowering size and H. biaristratum is also now flowering at Caerhays. In other Cornish gardens such as Tregrehan and Tregye there are now well established trees which are tolerating wind and temperatures of down to -5°C.

The real beauty of this genus is in the trunks. H. biaristratum has red-brown (even orangy) peeling bark at Tregrehan. I have yet to see a mature H. tibeticum trunk.

H. biaristratum has yellow/creamy bell shaped flowers and long, handsome, elliptic, toothed leaves with pinkish new growth. H. tibeticum also has glossy lanceolate leaves with pinkish new growth. The flowers appear mainly at the end of the twigs and branches and are white. Of the two H. biaristratum is perhaps the most attractive in flower with larger flowers that open more fully.

We have yet to attempt to propagate these trees ourselves from cuttings. These we expect to be difficult to put it mildly. Plants available in the trade have usually been grown from seed collections.

There are two further species of Huodendron known to science which are being trialled at Tregrehan. Whether or not they will be hardy enough to survive outdoors remains to be seen.

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