Sourwood, the lone species of the genus, is found in woodlands and along streams of eastern North America. This plant (named for the sour taste of its leaves) forms a pyramidal tree to 30 feet tall, with canoe-shaped, glossy leaves that turn vivid maroon, yellow, or purple in autumn. In late summer, its delicate panicles of fragrant, urn-shaped flowers spray forward, decorating the tree in white. The blossoms, which resemble lily-of-the-valley, are followed by yellowish seed capsules that turn brown and persist into winter. It makes an outstanding specimen both for a prominent position and also for a naturalized setting.
Noteworthy CharacteristicsGlossy leaves with good fall color; fragrant flowers in late summer; decorative seed heads. U.S. native.
CareGrow in moist, well-drained, acidic soil in full sun or partial shade (blooms best in full sun). It prefers a reasonably protected site. Prune only to maintain a healthy framework.
PropagationSow seed in a cold frame in autumn. In summer, take semi-ripe cuttings.
- Genus : Oxydendrum
- Plant Width : 15 to 30 feet
- Plant Height : 30 feet or more
- Zones : 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
- Characteristics : Fragrant Flowers, Interesting Bark, Showy Fall Foliage, Showy Foliage, Showy Seed Heads
- Tolerance : Frost Tolerant
- Light : Full Sun to Partial Shade
- Bloom Time : Late Summer
- Maintenance : Low
- Moisture : Medium Moisture
- Growth Rate : Slow
- Plant Seasonal Interest : Summer Interest
- Plant Type : Trees
- Flower Color : White