Franklinia Leaf

Growth Facts

  • Hardiness Zone: 5-8
  • Spacing: 15-20'
  • Exposure: Sun/Light Shade
  • Show more ›
Franklinia
Franklinia alatamaha

This Tree is not available for Sale at this time through Bower & Branch. Bower & Branch provides this information for reference only. Please check back with us or contact us for more detail.

If you’re passionate about trees and fascinated with their histories, then the Franklin Tree, or Franklinia, is a must-have for your collection. Once native to the U.S., this rare and exquisite flowering tree is now extinct in the wild and survives only as a specimen in gardens. And what a specimen it is! In August and September, when most trees are simply green, Franklinia will grace your mixed border, patio area, or entryway garden with elegant, fragrant white flowers measuring three inches wide or more. They resemble the blossoms of Camellias and Stewartias, to which the Franklin Tree is related. They’re reason enough to throw a garden party!

Growth Facts

  • Hardiness Zone: 5-8
  • Spacing: 15-20'
  • Exposure: Sun/Light Shade
  • Show more ›

The Story

Franklinia was discovered in Georgia in 1765 by John and William Bartram, father and son plant explorers from Pennsylvania. They named the lovely new tree for their good family friend, Benjamin Franklin. William returned to that little grove of trees in 1776 to collect seed, and it’s fortunate he did, because except for one disputed sighting by another botanist in 1803, the Franklin Tree was never seen in the wild again. All of the Franklinias in the world today are descendants of that crop of seedlings William Bartram raised on his Pennsylvania farm during the Revolutionary War.

The Details

In addition to beautiful flowers and a captivating story, the Franklin Tree has something else to offer—amazing fall color! When the days turn crisp and cool, its Magnolia-like leaves heat up, taking on shades of purple, crimson, and scarlet-orange. Sometimes there are even some late white flowers nestled amongst the fiery foliage.

How to Grow

Franklinia is a rather persnickety tree and isn’t a good choice for the novice gardener. However, if your thumbs are green, it will be the pride and joy of your garden. Give Franklin Tree a site in full sun or very light shade with moist but well-drained, acidic soil that has lots of organic matter worked in. Despite being a Southern belle, it’s surprisingly cold-hardy and does well in much of New England, provided the soil is to its liking. This is normally a short-lived tree, though a couple of well-tended specimens at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston are over 100 years old.

More Info

Cold Tolerance/Hardiness Zone 5
Heat Tolerance/Hardiness Zone 8
Exposure Sun/Light Shade
Avg Mature Height 20'
Avg Mature Width 15'
Spacing 15-20'
Growth Rate Medium
Leaf Color Green
Fall Leaf Color Purple/Orange/Red
Flower Color White
Flower Time Late Summer
Cary Award Winner No
PA Gold Medal Award No
Attractive Bark Yes
Attracts Birds No
Attracts Butterflies No
Attracts Hummingbirds No
Attracts Pollinators No
Deer Resistant No
Drought Tolerant No
Dry, Poor Soils No
Edible Fruit No
Fragrant Yes
Groundcover No
Hedge/Windbreak No
Native Yes
Salt Tolerance/Seashore No
Seasonal Cut Branches No
Shade Tolerance No
Showy Flowers Yes
Specimen Yes
Urban Conditions No
Utility Line Trees No
Wet Moist Soils No
Winter Interest Yes
Woodland Garden Yes
Decor/Craft Use No

Size Guide

Size Guide Scale

Scale

Size: A

Size A

This graphic shows the approximate size and form of the Tree you are viewing.

Size A Trees:

4-5' tall. Well formed branching grown in our #7 tree container. Flowering age.

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Franklinia Leaf