Alphabetical Plant Listing

Betula lenta (Sweet Birch)

Sweet Birch, Cherry Birch, Black Birch, Mahogany Birch


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 warming up to 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 is also 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 United States.

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Requirements

Hardiness 3 – 7
Heat Zones 2 – 7
Plant Type Trees
Plant Family Betula - Birches
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 40' – 50' (12m – 15m)
Spread 35' – 50' (10.5m – 15m)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
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, Midwest, Ohio, Northeast, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Southeast, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia
Tolerance Deer, Dry Soil, Salt
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Styles Coastal Garden, Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow

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Nicholas A. Tonelli (Flickr), Kyle Selcer, OlgaOtto, Martin Fowler (Shutterstock)

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.


Requirements

Hardiness 3 – 7
Heat Zones 2 – 7
Plant Type Trees
Plant Family Betula - Birches
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 40' – 50' (12m – 15m)
Spread 35' – 50' (10.5m – 15m)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
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, Midwest, Ohio, Northeast, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Southeast, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia
Tolerance Deer, Dry Soil, Salt
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Styles Coastal Garden, Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow

Great Plant Combination Ideas with Betula - Birches

Guides with Betula - Birches

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