The common silverbell is also known as the mountain silverbell, Carolina silverbell, or Halesia tetraptera. The Carolina silverbell can be planted along stream banks, in shrub borders, against a background of large conifers, or as a single specimen.
However, it is not commonly found in American gardens. This species forms a rounded crown and has a low-branched profile, often with multiple trunks. An outline of a single-trunked specimen resembles a pyramid or oval.
As the stems grow, their bark becomes gray and scaly with darker striations, and the skin develops flattened ridges of gray, brown, and black hues. Its 2 to 5-inch-long dark yellowish-green leaves seldom display spectacular fall color, usually only showing glimpses of yellow.
From the axils of the branches, 12 to 1-inch-long, white, bell-shaped flowers appear in clusters in April and May. This tree is one of the most aesthetically pleasing flowering trees due to the subtle and not boisterous nature of its flowers. Fruits ripen in September and October.
They are ovoid in shape and have four distinct wings. It prefers cool, moist, acidic soil with proper drainage, either in the shade or in the sun. If the pH of the soil is extremely high, plants will develop chlorosis.
Resists transplanting, especially balled-and-bur lapped material; use container-grown plants. Throughout its native range, it can be found along streams, on the banks of watercourses, and in sheltered coves. The plant grows 30 to 40 feet high and 20 to 35 feet wide; a national champion measures 116 feet by 39 feet. From zones 5 to 8(9). West Virginia to Florida, east to eastern Texas.
A must-have for the Halesia aficionados and other iconoclastic gardeners, ‘Lady Catherine’ is the first weeping selection (semi-pendulous in my experience). This plant was introduced by Dr. Ken Tilt, Auburn University, and named after his daughter. A pink-flowered variety, ‘Rosea’ (var. rosea) is exquisitely beautiful.
There is a possibility that pink forms will appear in populations of seedlings. Be aware that the pinkness of the flowers varies from near white to almost rose before buying. In spring, cooler temperatures produce deeper pink corollas. The pink-flowered forms ‘Arnold Pink’ and ‘Rosy Ridge’ was introduced by Hawksridge Nursery in Hickory, North Carolina.