Styrax Species, Japanese Snowbell

Styrax japonicus

Family: Styracaceae (sty-ra-KAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Styrax (STY-raks) (Info)
Species: japonicus (juh-PON-ih-kus) (Info)
View this plant in a garden



Water Requirements:

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

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade



Foliage Color:



20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Allentown, Pennsylvania

Exton, Pennsylvania

West Chester, Pennsylvania

Tyler, Texas

Clarksville, Virginia

North Bend, Washington

Olympia, Washington

Port Orchard, Washington

Seattle, Washington

Vancouver, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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.


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.


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 "b... read more


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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... read more


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.


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.