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Regional Picks: Alternatives to Troublesome Plants – Northeast

Fine Gardening - Issue 157

Troublesome Plant – Camellias

(Camellia japonica cvs.)



1. Franklin Tree

Name: Franklinia alatamaha

USDA hardiness zones: 6 to 9

Size: 15 to 25 feet tall and 15 to 20 feet wide

Conditions: Full sun to partial shade; moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soil

Camellia is difficult to grow in the Northeast because it is tender. The Franklin tree (named after Benjamin Franklin) has 3-inch-wide white flowers centered with a cluster of bright yellow stamens. It is closely related to camellia: Its flowers have a sweet fragrance and bloom, in most years, from late July until mid-October. Unlike camellia, which is evergreen, Franklin tree puts on a brilliant fall-foliage display of fire-engine red before the leaves drop. All nursery plants are descendants of seeds collected in the 18th century; the plant became extinct in the wild by the early 19th century.


Troublesome Plant – Common Lilacs

(Syringa vulgaris cvs.)



2. ‘Lilac Sunday’ Lilac

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