How to Grow Carolina Silverbell – Halesia

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Carolina silverbell, Halesia, is a deciduous tree or large shrub of North America valued for its handsome, drooping, bell-shaped white flowers in early spring.

Silverbell thrives in any well-drained soil. It northern, cold-winter regions it grows best in a sheltered position.

Carolina Silverbell grows to 40 feet with spreading branches; in cold winter regions, it may never grow larger than a tall shrub.

Silverbell is propagated by seed sown in the fall or by layering and root-cuttings.

Leaves of Carolina Silverbell
Leaves of Carolina Silverbell, Snowdrop Tree, or Little Silverbell

Get to know Carolina Silverbell

  • Plant type: Deciduous tree
  • Growing Zones and range: 5-8
  • Hardiness: Hardy
  • Height and spread: Grows to 30 feet (9m) tall and as wide
  • Foliage: Alternate, toothed leaves
  • Flowers: Delicate bell-shaped silvery,, white blooms followed by winged seed capsules
  • Bloom time: Spring
  • Uses: Specimen tree, woodland planting
  • Botanical name: Halesia carolina
  • Common name: Carolina Silverbell

Where to plant Carolina Silverbell

  • Grow Carolina silverbell in full sun to light shade.
  • Avoid planting Carolina silverbell where it is not hit by a strong wind.
  • Plant Carolina silverbell in humus-rich, moisture-retentive, well-drained soil.

When to plant Carolina Silverbell

  • Transplant balled-and-burlapped or container-grown plants in spring.

Planting and spacing Carolina Silverbell

  • Space Silverbell 30 to 35 feet apart; trees grow 20 to 30 feet tall

How to water and feed Carolina Silverbell

  • Keep the soil evenly moist for best growth; give Silverbell plenty of moisture if growing in full sun
  • Spread aged compost to the dripline once a year

Carolina Silverbell care

  • Remove lower limbs early on and train Silverbell to a single trunk
  • Mulch Carolina silverbell with aged compost to keep the soil evenly moist.
  • Carolina silverbell rarely need pruning; prune immediately after flowering when needed

Carolina Silverbell common problems

  • Carolina silverbell loses leaves very early.
  • Carolina silverbell has no serious pests or disease.

Carolina Silverbell propagation

  • Sow seed in fall; seeds may take 2 years to germinate.

Carolina Silverbell varieties to grow

  • ‘Rosea’ has light pink flowers.
  • Halesia diptera var. Magniflora bears large showy flowers

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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