Alphabetical Plant Listing

Oxydendrum arboreum (Sourwood)

Sorrel Tree, Sourwood, Titi, Andromeda arborea


Prized for its multi-season interest, Oxydendrum arboreum (Sourwood) is a slow-growing, deciduous tree of delicately pyramidal habit with a slender trunk and a narrow oblong crown. Its slightly pendulous branches are clothed with alternate, finely toothed, glossy green leaves which turn brilliant crimson-red to dark purple in the fall. The leaves have a sour taste, hence the common name. In early summer, fragrant, urn-shaped, creamy-white flowers resembling those of lily-of-the-valley are borne in drooping, one-sided panicles, up to 10 in. long (25 cm), at the branch tips. Attractive to bees, they bloom for about 3-4 weeks and are followed by small, silver-gray capsules that persist through winter and contrast well with the red foliage. The gray bark is fissured, ridged and scaly on mature trees, providing winter interest. A gorgeous flowering tree that offers year-round interest and is a great choice for naturalizing in acid soils. Excellent specimen, patio or lawn tree. The flowers are used to make a prized honey.

  • Grows up to 20-30 ft. tall and wide (6-9 m) but can reach 50 ft in height (15m) in the wild.
  • Performs best in organically rich, moist, acidic, well-drained soils in full sun or part shade. Best flower production and foliage color is obtained in full sun. The tree does reasonably well in dry, neutral soils and is moderately tolerant of salt.
  • Perfect as a specimen plant for cottage gardens, shade gardens or woodland gardens.
  • Generally pest and disease free. Deer resistant.
  • No routine pruning necessary. Remove diseased, damaged, congested or crossing shoots.
  • Propagate by seed and semi-hardwood cuttings.
  • Native to the eastern United States from Pennsylvania south to Florida and Louisiana.

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Requirements

Hardiness 5 – 9
Heat Zones 3 – 9
Climate Zones 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 20' – 30' (6m – 9m)
Spread 20' – 30' (6m – 9m)
Water Needs Low, Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy
Native Plants United States, Midwest, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Northeast, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Southeast, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia
Tolerance Deer, Dry Soil, Salt
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage

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Shutterstock, 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 3 – 9
Climate Zones 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 20' – 30' (6m – 9m)
Spread 20' – 30' (6m – 9m)
Water Needs Low, Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy
Native Plants United States, Midwest, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Northeast, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Southeast, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia
Tolerance Deer, Dry Soil, Salt
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage

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