The Q&A Archives: Franklinia Tree

Question: My Mother-in-Law gave me a Franklinia tree, which is difficult to find in local nurseries. I can't find information on it, like does it require full or partial sun? Any information you can send me on this tree would be helpful. I do know it was named after Ben by his friend, John Bartram. But the history is all I know.

Answer: Franklinia alatamaha is native to Georgia, but wild stands became extinct just before the 1800's. It prefers partial shade, and rich, slightly acid, well-draining soil. The tree is slender in form and slow growing to 20'-30' high. The reddish brown bark has faint striping, and the spoon-shaped leaves, 4"-6" long, turn from bright green to scarlet in the fall. The tree will produce white flowers with center clusters of yellow stamens in late summer or early fall, sometimes coinciding with the change of foliage color.

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