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My earlier question has seemed to generate much confusion so I am taking a stab at re-writing it. Part of me fears that this board doesn't contain enough plant geeks (aka plant collectors), and perhaps it better suited for the American Public Garden Association but before I go there I hope others here might have experience with these plants.

We currently grow 5 species of deciduous stewartia and I have my eyes on another 3 or 4. However, I recently learned about the "evergreen" stewartia from the same 2008 Royal Horticulture article that @stormy linked to. Wikipedia suggests that some botanists classify the evergreen stewartia in the genus Hartia, so to avoid confusion I am going to call the group of plants I am interested in learning about Hartia.

The RHS article suggests that Hartia is not well know in the public garden sector, and has not been introduced into the nursery trade in either Europe or the US. The two articles above are my sole references to Hartia - I have found nothing in my 'common' references - Bean, Dirr, Rehder, etc, and was wondering if folks out there have come across references that talk about evergreen stewartia.

The second half of my question is a reach out the the gardening community to ask it anyone (especially in the US) is growing these plants. Poly Hill Arboreteum, the US national stewartia collection doesn't list any among their collections (dead or alive) under either genus. I haven't done a search of other major US arboreta, but I suspect nobody is growing this genus. If you are growing an evergreen steartia (Hartia) in your private garden, I would love to know how you heard about it, where you found it, etc.

If you are else where in the world and grow this genus, I would love to touch base. Perhaps there are issues with the genus that I'm not aware of that have prevented it from entering into the nursery trade.

Lastly, if there are any taxonomic geeks out there that would be willing to point me towards a better understanding of if I'm looking for the genus Stewartia or the genus Hartia that would most wonderful.

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Arnold Arboretum's website quotes current taxonomic reviews lumping all Hartia into Stewartia. Essentially, it seems Hartia is now outdated, but used to represent all evergreen members of the Stewartia genus. I have never seen one in person, and gather they are very rare in cultivation. From descriptions, I gather they are less showy than the deciduous Stewartias - most sources report smaller flowers and a lack of the very attractive bark of some more common deciduous Stewartias. S. calcicola, laotica, and pteropetiolata are all evergreen according to an article in Plantsman magazine, and Polly Hill has a mongraph listing several others. The only mention I can find of one in North America is a pteropetiolata at the University of British Columbia Botanical Garden. In Europe Wespelaar Arboretum, Belgium, seems to be involved in introducing members of the genus to cultivation.

  • Welcome to the site! Thanks for such a great answer. I grew up a few miles from the Arnold Arboretum and have spent a great number of hours there. It's world-renowned as an educational source, so I generally trust what they say. If you live near us, I hope you've been there in person! – Sue Saddest Farewell TGO GL Sep 26 '17 at 22:41
  • Thanks user19902 - it was that Plantsman article that got my lusting after one. I might reach out to the collections people at Wespelaar and see if they do a seed exchange. It would be really fun to grow something very few people have. – Ben Sep 27 '17 at 12:58
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Evergreen Stewartia as all Stewartia needs acid soil, incredible drainage and lots of rainfall. Do you have all three? Gorgeous gorgeous plants, omg. Here is a simple article that might help you rephrase your question. Stewartia.

  • stormy, this is a great answer! It gives enough information for the OP to think about, without being overwhelming. If he needs further advice, you can add it in to expand the answer, rather than long comments which tend to get lost! – Sue Saddest Farewell TGO GL Jan 17 '17 at 23:45

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