Purple Birch, Purple-leafed Birch '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



Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

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

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Provides winter interest

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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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Gardeners' Notes:


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.


On Mar 16, 2007, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 8a) 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


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.