Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Japanese Snowbell
Styrax japonicus

Family: Styracaceae (sty-ra-KAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Styrax (STY-raks) (Info)
Species: japonicus (juh-PON-ih-kus) (Info)

6 vendors have this plant for sale.

8 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Unknown - Tell us

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade


Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 15 photos.
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9 positives
2 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive syzygysb On May 10, 2014, syzygysb from Santa Barbara, CA wrote:

Here in Santa Barbara, CA someone posted a photo on Edhat (local online magazine) of the Styrax japonicus flowers. We usually can't grow any plants rated lower than Zone 9. I suspect the owner lives in nearby (1/2 hour drive north) Santa Ynez Valley, which gets many more chill hours.

I found this site, while trying to determine what the plant was. Delighted to find it is fragrant as well as beautiful and REALLY enjoyed reading all of the comments/growing tips/growing experience. Thanks so much.

Positive coriaceous On Feb 13, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

A charming small flowering tree, with abundant small pendulous white flowers in June. In time it develops a beautiful horizontal branching architecture. The flowers are showy and best viewed from below.

I find the fragrance heavy and foetid, but some people like it.

This tree is quite shade tolerant, and works well as an understory tree. It's usually untroubled by pests or diseases.

No fall color.

This will self-sow lightly under regular conditions, and annoyingly if the beds beneath it get regular irrigation.

Positive BeeKind On Sep 28, 2012, BeeKind from Exton, PA wrote:

I planted one of these trees, single trunk specimen, in full sun 3 years ago. The first two years the plant grew slowly but this year (2012) the tree has taken off. The lower branches on this tree grow downward, so keep that in mind. The trees drops lots of seeds in the fall. This tree is beautiful, not large, and is a nice specimen tree near a pond, house corner, or large flower bed. This tree does not like prolonged, dry weather.

Positive Wowitgrew On Oct 3, 2010, Wowitgrew from Ballwin, MO wrote:

I bought this bifurcated plant at a Lowe's in St. Louis, MO for $5.00 on sale in May of 2005. It was small (5 feet tall) and had two blossoms on it. I stuck it in the ground in a southern exposure and in and area sheltered from wind, next to my neighbors house to block the view of her porch. I thought I placed it with enough room for it to spread & still block the view, but not grow too close to my house. Unfortunately, I missed the mark by about 5 feet, so after 5 years of growth and bloom, I dug it up and moved it over 5 feet so the view would be blocked. When I was digging it up, my son accidentally ripped one of the main branches almost completely off. I wrapped it with a burlap bandage, planted it anyway, watered well, and left it alone & prayed. The next spring I removed the "bandage", and it had healed itself! It bloomed beautifully, and smelled divine. It is now about 12 feet tall, and I have pruned it just a little so I can walk underneath the branches that hung over my garden path. Walking underneath is a little piece of heaven when it is in bloom. It's breathtaking. A side note:The property was used for rental for about 4 years when I was temporarily transferred. The tenant didn't water or weed anything, EVER, even during drought and extreme heat. Now that I have moved back to the house, the tree is not at all worse for the COMPLETE neglect it suffered. My only problem is this: It does tend to have sucker growth at the bottom, causing the trunk to look gnarly & thick at the base, and I have no idea how tall it will get. I am an impulse gardener, and if it works, great, if not, it's almost fun to try something else. But how tall will it get? It's PERFECT now. A true jem and a GREAT buy for $5.00.

Positive Mary_323 On Jul 5, 2010, Mary_323 from West Chester, PA wrote:

I inherited this tree from the previous owner of our home. It sits in a sheltered corner near our garage. For the past 14 years it has faithfully provided an abundance of beautiful, fragrant blooms in mid to late May. There have been no problems with the tree. It did require slight watering when we had severe drought conditions. Past that, it has had no care other than pruning to keep its shape and to remove suckers from the base of the tree. It is a great specimen tree.

Negative readingrose On Jun 12, 2010, readingrose from Reading, MA wrote:

I loved this little tree that I planted by my patio. It is fairly new being the second spring with us. This year it began to flower as usual, however, while in flower I noticed the leaves were drooping. I gave it deep watering for the next days/weeks. That did not help. All the leaves are shriveled and it is dying and I can't figure out why. We had so much rain this spring in the Northeast that I am surprised if the cause of death is from lack of water. Anyway, I am sad and baffled by this.
Since I did like this tree I am likely to try again,however, I'll be more careful about spring watering.

Neutral npschutz On Aug 11, 2008, npschutz from San Jose, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Last year I planted a Styrax japonicus purchased at a fine nursery; it is in part sun, part shade as per this area (San Jose California.) When purchased it was blooming; the fruits formed, and all seemed fine. This year the new leaves came, and two (2) blossoms, no fruit. I have continued to water it more than I would an established tree. But the seemingly healthy leaves are now burned looking, half brown. I am interested in nutritional requirements; or should I move it or give up! As is, it's not happy and neither am I.

Positive WesternWilson On Jun 29, 2008, WesternWilson from Tsawwassen, BC (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have three Styrax japonica planted in a large bed bordering the sidewalk. They are best enjoyed up close.

They do not always flower every year. Not sure why, or why they either all flower or all fail to flower.

Had a terrible cotton scale infestation this year! Sprayed with Safer's insecticidal soap (which seemed to bother the Heuchera's underneath, alas) and that seems to be working well.

Neutral Lynnemom On Apr 1, 2007, Lynnemom from Hood River, OR wrote:

Growing well.
Has put out 2 new trunks which I don't want.
Needs to be in good close viewing position. I did not do this and regret it. The tree looks like a dirty white mess from a 75 foot distance (my kitchen window).
It has also been badly deformed by our constant west winds. Find a calm, intimate place for this otherwise lovely small tree.

Positive Capemanx On Jul 17, 2006, Capemanx from West Barnstable, MA wrote:

The magnificent Japanese Snowbell tree in our side yard on Cape Cod, (planted when 4' high in 1999 in sandy loam), has thousands of little pendulous bells along the underside of its branches in June. Since the beauty of the blossoms is seen from beneath the branches, buyers would be well advised to plant it on a ridge or height of land where you would be able to walk beneath it. Mine is planted above and behind a 4" stone retaining wall where a stone stairway meanders downhill to the side... a perfect view.Spectacular view from inside too, as it is now (in 2006) just over 15' high and apparently will grow to 20-30 feet! Regarding propogation, simply let the green pearl-like seeds fall to the ground beneath , where many seedlings will flourish and you can then pot them and give them away to your friends and neighbours! Maybe I should be SELLING them? Foot high seedlings which I gave to a friend in 2002 are now 4' high and beginning to bloom nicely.

Positive narrowfocus On May 29, 2005, narrowfocus from Birmingham
United Kingdom (Zone 8a) wrote:

There's a styrax growing in a park near my house- it's absolutely gorgeous in summer when it flowers. The scent blows on the breeze, and you can smell it from twenty feet away. I've just planted one in the front garden, and hope mine will flower soon. Mind you, the one in the park is probably 30 feet tall, so I doubt I'll be able to smell mine without bending down (it's only 2 feet tall!).

Incidentally, the one I just planted was left in its pot with absolutely no care (yes, I am feeling guilty) for a year before I finally got round to planting it, and it stilll survived.

Positive JeannieB On Aug 30, 2004, JeannieB from Clarksville, VA (Zone 7b) wrote:

When I planted this tree it had a single trunk . Due to having to move it during a drought and not being able to keep it watered as it should have been, this 15' tall tree became infested with bores and I cut it down. Almost immediately new shoots started developing. Now my multi-stemmed tree is prettier than ever with more blooms. It has become one of the focal points in my garden while in bloom. During the 10 years of having this tree it has been through a lot and only gets better.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Clovis, California
Sacramento, California
Santa Cruz, California
Alpharetta, Georgia
Marietta, Georgia
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Bethesda, Maryland
Knoxville, Maryland
Roslindale, Massachusetts
West Barnstable, Massachusetts
Ballwin, Missouri
Saint Louis, Missouri
Beaufort, North Carolina
Highlands, North Carolina
Pittsboro, North Carolina
Cottage Grove, Oregon
Portland, Oregon
Exton, Pennsylvania
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Tyler, Texas
Clarksville, Virginia
North Bend, Washington
Olympia, Washington
Port Orchard, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Vancouver, Washington

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