Any useful tips on growing a Franklinia tree – I am on my second attempt. Everything I read says it is “tricky” – but nothing says why it is tricky. If all of the cultural conditions are met – why is it finicky. Does anyone have any useful tips or hints?
Franklinia don’t transplant well because of their small fibrous root system, so it is best to buy a young containerized plant. (In general younger trees of all species will survive transplanting better than older specimens, and provided they have not been allowed to become pot-bound, containerized plants allow for less disturbance of roots than field grown when transplanting.)
Franklinia tend to do better in the North than the South. There is a theory that they are affected by a disease that is associated with cotton, so you may have more trouble trying to grow this in an area where cotton was or still is grown.
I have never tried to grow Franklinia myself, but I did spend some time caring for the two trees growing at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden while I worked there. One of the trees was in great shape, the other one looked like it was barely holding on. The one that was doing poorly had been planted too close to another tree and seemed to suffer from too much shade and not enough air circulation. So I would suggest full sun and to avoid planting much close by.
When I first bought my house in the Hudson Valley Franklinia was on my list of plants I wanted to grow, but somehow it got nudged off. I had forgotten how much I love the tree. Your question has me reconsidering…
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Welcome! I’m Margaret Roach, a leading garden writer for 25 years—at ‘Martha Stewart Living,’ ‘Newsday,’ and in three books. I host a public-radio podcast; I also lecture, plus hold tours at my 2.3-acre Hudson Valley (NY) Zone 5B garden, and always say no to chemicals and yes to great plants.