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Betula lenta (Sweet Birch)

Sweet Birch, Cherry Birch, Black Birch, Mahogany Birch

Betula lenta, Sweet Birch, Cherry Birch, Black Birch, Mahogany Birch, Tree with fall color, Fall color, Attractive bark Tree
Betula lenta, Sweet Birch, Cherry Birch, Black Birch, Mahogany Birch, Tree with fall color, Fall color, Attractive bark Tree
Betula lenta, Sweet Birch, Cherry Birch, Black Birch, Mahogany Birch, Tree with fall color, Fall color, Attractive bark Tree
Betula lenta, Sweet Birch, Cherry Birch, Black Birch, Mahogany Birch, Tree with fall color, Fall color, Attractive bark Tree

Aromatic and long-lived (100 years or more), Betula lenta (Sweet Birch) is a single-trunked, medium-sized deciduous tree of conical habit in youth, becoming oval to rounded with age. Its ascending branches are covered with ovate, serrated, shiny leaves, 2-6 in. long (5-15 cm). Emerging light green in spring, the foliage turns dark green as the season progresses before turning rich golden yellow in fall. The flowers are small, tan catkins, 3 in. long (8 cm), that appear in spring before the leaves unfurl. They provide pollen for bees and other insect pollinators. Sweet Birch gives off a sweet fragrance when leaves, shoots, or bark are crushed. Smelling and tasting of wintergreen, the bark is quite appealing. Thin and reddish-brown in youth, it becomes dark gray with vertical, scaly plates with age. In winter, its delicate branching reveals the alternating, pointed buds and delicate catkins. Sweet Birch is a wonderful plant for wildlife. It attracts caterpillars and provides food for migrating birds in spring and fall. Attractive in all seasons, this superb eastern North American native is an excellent specimen tree and useful for lawns and naturalized areas. Performs best in cooler climates.

  • Grows up to 40-50 ft. tall (12-15 m) and 35-50 ft. wide (10-15 m).
  • A full sun or part shade lover, this plant is easily grown in moderately fertile, moist, well-drained soils. Tolerates a wide range of soil conditions from dry to wet. Salt tolerant.
  • Perfect as a specimen plant, in coastal gardens, cottage gardens, or wildlife gardens.
  • Low maintenance, this plant needs little pruning. If pruning is necessary, prune during the dormant season (when the sap has stopped flowing) from late summer to before mid-winter.
  • Sweet Birch is resistant to bronze birch borer. It may be affected by sawflies, aphids, leaf miners, powdery mildew, rust or honey fungus. Deer resistant.
  • Propagate by seed, softwood cuttings or grafting.
  • Native to Eastern Canada and the United States.

Requirements

Hardiness 3 - 7
Heat Zones 2 - 7
Plant Type Trees
Plant Family Betulaceae
Genus Betula
Common names Black Birch, Birch, Sweet Birch
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 40' - 50'
(12.2m - 15.2m)
Spread 35' - 50'
(10.7m - 15.2m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy
Native Plants United States, Northeast, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Midwest, Southeast, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky
Tolerance Deer, Salt, Dry Soil
Attracts Bees, Birds, Butterflies
Garden Styles Coastal Garden, Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Betula populifolia (Gray Birch)
Betula nana (Dwarf Birch)
Betula pumila (Bog Birch)
Betula alleghaniensis (Yellow Birch)
Betula platyphylla (Japanese White Birch)
Betula utilis (Himalayan Birch)

Recommended Companion Plants

Aster amellus ‘King George’ (Italian Aster)
Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)
Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’ (Switch Grass)
Quercus rubra (Red Oak)

Find In One of Our Guides or Gardens

Small Trees and Shrubs That Attract Birds
Roots of Life: Exploring the Diverse World of Trees
Green Canopy, Better World: Exploring the Benefits of Trees
Trees that Invite Wildlife to Your Garden
Small Trees, Big Impact: Maximize Your Garden’s Potential
Spectacular Trees for Vibrant Fall Colors: A Gardener’s Guide
Betula (Birch) – What Is Wrong With My Tree?
Betula (Birch) – Pests and Diseases to Watch Out For
Alternatives to Birch Trees Prone to Borer Attacks
Betula (Birch)
Create a Garden with Great Winter Interest
Which Birch Tree to Choose for my Garden?
Underplanting Birches
Shrubs and Trees with Attractive Winter Bark
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 3 - 7
Heat Zones 2 - 7
Plant Type Trees
Plant Family Betulaceae
Genus Betula
Common names Black Birch, Birch, Sweet Birch
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 40' - 50'
(12.2m - 15.2m)
Spread 35' - 50'
(10.7m - 15.2m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy
Native Plants United States, Northeast, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Midwest, Southeast, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky
Tolerance Deer, Salt, Dry Soil
Attracts Bees, Birds, Butterflies
Garden Styles Coastal Garden, Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow
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Do I Need?
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