Alphabetical Plant Listing

Franklinia alatamaha (Franklin Tree)

Franklin Tree, Franklinia, Franklintree, Gordonia alatamaha, Gordonia pubescens


Franklinia alatamaha (Franklin Tree) is a deciduous small tree or multi-stemmed shrub with upright, spreading branches, giving the plant an open, airy appearance. The foliage of dark green, glossy, oblong leaves, to 5 in. long (12 cm), turns crimson, orange and purple in the fall. Beautiful, large, five-petaled, sweetly fragrant, white flowers, 3 in. across (6 cm), open in mid-summer to early fall. Resembling camellias, they are adorned with a prominent bouquet of yellow stamens. They bloom over several weeks, clustered at the tips of the branches, opening one at a time. Found by John Bartram along the banks of the Altamaha River in Georgia in 1770, Franklin Tree has been extinct in the wild since 1803. It survives only because of plants originally propagated by John Bartram. Grown for its handsome flowers, showy fall foliage, and historical interest, Franklin Tree makes a stunning small specimen tree for the garden. However, it can be tricky to establish because it requires precise moisture levels, well-drained, nutrient-rich acidic soils, and protection from environmental stress.

  • Grows up to 10-20 ft. tall (300-600 cm) and 6-15 ft. wide (180-450 cm).
  • A full sun to part shade lover, this plant performs best in organically rich, acidicmedium moisture, well-drained soils. Best flowering and fall color occur in full sun. Intolerant of root disturbance once established as well as drought.
  • Low maintenance, this plant is usually pest free. Keep an eye out for wilt and root rot.
  • Requires minimal pruning, only removing wayward, crossing or rubbing shoots in winter when dormant.
  • Sow seeds as soon as the fruit matures. Easily propagated from cuttings taken in late summer or fall.
  • Native to Georgia (USA).

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Requirements

Hardiness 5 – 9
Heat Zones 6 – 9
Climate Zones 3B, 4, 5, 6, 14, 15, 16, 17
Plant Type Trees
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 10' – 20' (3m – 6m)
Spread 6' – 15' (180cm – 4.5m)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy
Native Plants United States, Southeast, Georgia
Garden Uses Beds and Borders, Wall-Side Borders
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Coastal Garden, Informal and Cottage, Mediterranean Garden

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Plant Image Library, Wendy Cutler (Flickr)

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 5 – 9
Heat Zones 6 – 9
Climate Zones 3B, 4, 5, 6, 14, 15, 16, 17
Plant Type Trees
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 10' – 20' (3m – 6m)
Spread 6' – 15' (180cm – 4.5m)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy
Native Plants United States, Southeast, Georgia
Garden Uses Beds and Borders, Wall-Side Borders
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Coastal Garden, Informal and Cottage, Mediterranean Garden

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