Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Purple Birch, Purple-leafed Birch
Betula 'Crimson Frost'

Family: Betulaceae (beh-tyoo-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Betula (BET-yoo-luh) (Info)
Cultivar: Crimson Frost

Synonym:Betula platyphylla var. szechuanica x pendula


30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
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)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Mid Spring

Grown for foliage
Good Fall Color

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
Provides winter interest

Soil pH requirements:
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings
By grafting

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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to view:

By doss
Thumbnail #1 of Betula  by doss

By doss
Thumbnail #2 of Betula  by doss

By willmetge
Thumbnail #3 of Betula  by willmetge


1 positive
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral goldens5 On Aug 15, 2010, goldens5 from Bonner, MT wrote:

The first of July I planted a clump Crimson Frost (3 trunks) in a sunny location. I have been watering it with a trickle flow for 2-3 hrs about 2-3 times a week. This is in addition to the amt of water it receives from the sprinkler system. Some of the leaves are beginning to turn yellow. Is this too much or too little water? There is bark mulch on top of the soil.

Neutral berrygirl On Mar 16, 2007, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Betula 'Crimson Frost' PURPLE-LEAVED BIRCH Dec (z4) (Bfly,Cut)
This exceptional 30-35'birch provides consistent burgundy lf color all season accented against exfoliating whi-tinted-cinnamon bark...a lovely combo; lf-miner resistant & adaptable to heavy or alkaline soil.Sun/M-W

Positive doss On May 6, 2005, doss from Stanford, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

The spring foliage on this tree is very bright crimson. Like most Birch it is prone to aphids early in the season but is said to be less prone to Birch borer than some other cultivars. In the fall they turn bright again too.

I chose Birch for a 20 foot space along the side of my house. Birch trees were an ideal solution because of their upright form. We didn't want to be continually taking dropping foliage off of the roof. They are backed by a lot of greenery so that a red cultivar was a good esthetic solution. While they don't give a lot of shade right now, when they do get larger, they will shade some west facing windows that are prone to get too hot and too bright.


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

Stanford, California
Ledyard, Connecticut
Moscow, Idaho
New Lenox, Illinois
Prophetstown, Illinois
Bridgeton, Missouri
Bonner, Montana
Spokane, Washington

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