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Oxydendrum - Growing Guide
Growing Oxydendrum arboreum
This is a fully hardy deciduous North American tree growing slowly to around 20-30ft which, in its flowers, bears a close resemblance to pieris. It looks more like a shrub when you see it growing in a pot and, in maturity, it has only a slender trunk with rusty red to grey bark.
The leaves are elliptic and oblong or lance shaped. About 8in in length and dark green. In autumn the leaves can turn brilliant shades of red, yellow and purple but seldom do we get this luxury in Cornwall. Autumn colour is best seen in colder counties with lower rainfall.
The flowers are white, ¼in long and borne in attractive panicles 6-10in long at the end of the season’s new growth. The panicles have several slender racemes and the effect is most impressive in late summer or early autumn. I readily admit to only having seen this at Wisley and Windsor. Our attempts to grow a mature plant at Burncoose have met with several failures over the decades. The one occasion when we got near to success a falling tree put us back to square one.
This tree needs to be grown in full sun with shelter and a moist well drained soil.
We have never tried it from cuttings but it will germinate from bought in seed.