Carpinus betulus (European Hornbeam)
Alphabetical Plant Listing

Carpinus betulus (European Hornbeam)

European Hornbeam, Common Hornbeam, Charmille, Horn Beech, Horse Beech, Hurst Beech, White Beech, Yoke Elm, Carpinus caucasia, Carpinus vulgaris


Attractive in all seasons, Carpinus betulus (European Hornbeam) is a slow-growing, large deciduous tree with a fluted gray trunk and a beautiful oval-rounded, densely foliated crown. The branches are covered with ovate, serrated and conspicuously ribbed, dark green leaves, 2-4 in. long (5-10 cm). The foliage warms up to shades of yellow to orange in the fall. The flowers appear in early spring, before the foliage emerges, in separate male and female catkins. The female catkins are followed by distinctive clusters of winged nutlets. Hanging at the tip of the branches, they can be seen through late spring to early fall. Fruit and buds are eaten by many birds. In winter, the handsome, slate-gray smooth to fluted bark makes Carpinus betulus a lovely addition to the landscape. Native to Western Asia and Europe, European Hornbeam is a wonderful tree that is useful as a specimen or in groupings. It is great for woodland settings and has enough pruning tolerance to be a hedge, privacy screen, or topiary. Carpinus betulus was and still is the plant of choice for clipped screens and hedges in English and American gardens.

  • Recipient of the prestigious Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society.
  • Grows up to 40-60 ft. tall (12-18 m) and 30-40 wide (9-12 m).
  • Performs best in full sun to part shade in fertile, dry to moist, well-drained soils. Drought tolerant once established.
  • Perfect for as a specimen, hedge or screen or bonzai.
  • Low maintenance, this plant does not need routine pruning. Remove diseased, damaged, congested or crossing shoots.
  • If used as a hedge, it is best pruned during the period of late summer to mid-winter to avoid significant bleeding.
  • No serious pest or disease issues. Keep an eye out for caterpillars, aphids, powdery mildews and coral spot.
  • Propagate by seed, softwood cuttings or by grafting.
  • Native to Western Asia and central, eastern, and southern Europe, including southern England.

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Requirements

Hardiness 4 – 8
Heat Zones 1 – 8
Climate Zones 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17
Plant Type Trees
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 40' – 60' (12m – 18m)
Spread 30' – 40' (9m – 12m)
Water Needs Low, Average
Maintenance Low, Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United Kingdom
Tolerance Drought
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Hedges and Screens
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage

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Maja Dumat, Flickr, Beekeepx, Schuppich, 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 4 – 8
Heat Zones 1 – 8
Climate Zones 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17
Plant Type Trees
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 40' – 60' (12m – 18m)
Spread 30' – 40' (9m – 12m)
Water Needs Low, Average
Maintenance Low, Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United Kingdom
Tolerance Drought
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Hedges and Screens
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage

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