Sourwood is an attractive tree with white flowers in early summer and excellent fall color. This tree requires an acid soil and thus can be difficult to grow in northern Illinois.
All Common Names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- North America
- Medium tree (25-40 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8
- Acid soil,
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Wet sites
Season of Interest:
- Early summer,
- Mid summer,
- Early fall,
- Mid fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
Size and Form
This tree grows 25-30 feet high and 20-25 feet wide. The form is pyramidal to oval.
Tree & Plant Care
The tree requires an acid soil. Prefers a moist well-drained soil.
Full sun to part shade.
Disease, pests, and problems
No serious problems.
Native geographic location and habitat
Native primarily to the southeastern United States.
Common on well-drained upland slopes.
Bark color and texture
Bark is gray-brown and deeply ridged with the ridges often divided in to a somewhat square pattern.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Simple, alternate leaves with finely toothed edges. Elongated shape and 3 to 8 inches long.
Leaves are dark green in summer changing to red or a mix of red and orange in fall.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Fragrant, white flowers in early summer. The sprays of flowers are reminiscent of lily-of-the-valley in their shape.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Small persistent dry capsules, tan in color.