first bloom, slow sourwood


When the plant tag described Oxydendrum arboreum as slow-growing, they weren’t kidding. See that little spot of red in the distance, toward the studio? That’s it after nine years. To be fair, we moved it from our former garden in ’06, which would have set it back some, but still…


When it bloomed for the first time in late August, its other nickname, ‘lily of the valley tree’ made perfect sense.


The flowers are long lasting, so they are still in evidence as the leaves turn. It puts on a long show, with the foliage looking ever more aflame as the days go by. Hard rains cut the performance short this year. At the current rate, we will never see it reach its ultimate height of 30 feet. OK by me. I am content to watch the slo-mo progression of this very special tree.

7 Responses to “first bloom, slow sourwood”

  1. wendy Says:

    wow, what a neat tree – that gorgeous fall color but with those exotic white flowers too? How cool!

  2. Jane Says:

    Isn’t it ironic how often we gardeners want something to stay small and it doesn’t, but when we’re hoping for some growth a plant often stays small… Glad you’re fine with your very slow sourwood. The fall color is just lovely!

  3. ricki Says:

    I just spotted one on my way to the store. It was probably 20 feet tall and in full bloom, but the color was less spectacular than ours. The rain here has beaten off most of the leaves.

  4. Grace Says:

    Ricki~~ After 9 years? You aren’t a kiddin.’ Well you know what they say, we plant a tree for the next generation. [Or something like that.] Beautiful fall color and the flowers are amazing.

  5. ricki Says:

    Grace: Subsequent generations are going to get a big kick out of our place. Or else it will be “What were they thinking?” and our babies will end up as firewood.

  6. Ernest Lawbaugh Says:

    good stuff hopefully i learned from it.

  7. sprig to twig » Blog Archive » favorites done right…at Treephoria Says:

    […] They had several specimens of one of my favorite trees, Oxydendrum arboretum, or Sourwood. I wrote about the  s l o w  growth of mine here. […]

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