Birches are known for their beautiful silvery bark and leaves that turn honey-yellow in the fall. With their generally upright nature, they are a great tree choice for gardeners that might have a lack of space for a larger spreading tree. Four-season beauty makes them a stand-out in the garden because whether they are showing off their fall foliage, lustrous summer green, or bare and elegant in the winter, birch is a beautiful tree.
We’ve put together a list of some of the varieties that work well in smaller gardens. Some of these do grow to be medium-sized trees, but others are suitable for containers or as living hedges. All of them enjoy sunlight and moderately moist soils. Too much shade, and they won’t thrive. If your soil is dry, you should consider a soaker hose or some type of irrigation to keep their roots damp. The great thing about birches is they require very minimal pruning, making them an easy tree to care for.
So here we go, seven varieties of beautiful birch trees to make your garden glow.
1. Snow Queen Birch
The Snow Queen Birch, or Betula utilis, is a beautiful tree for the garden. Unlike other birches, even the young trees have the snowy white bark that adult birches are known for. It’s a fast-growing medium-sized tree that will provide much beauty in your garden. Besides its wonderful bark, it is quite showy in the fall with leaves that turn hues of gold. This tree grows well in full sun or partial shade and well-drained soil. Its upright branches make it great for a smaller garden where there’s no room for a spreading tree.
2. Fastigiata Birch
The Fastigiata (Upright Birch) or Betalu Pendula tree is a unique, upright birch tree with the classic silvery bark of the birch tree. Its branches intertwine with each other and grow inward, which creates the tree’s upright appearance. This is a great choice where you might need a vertical accent in the garden. These trees look great planted as a border but will lose their leaves in the winter. The skeletal branches only add to the beauty in that season. These trees prefer slightly acidic soil but will tolerate most soil types.
3. Trinity College Birch
The Trinity College Birch or Betula Jacquemontii is another quiet and graceful white-barked birch tree. This variety will grow to about 2o feet after a time of approximately ten years. Its upright branches are wonderful for an area that can’t handle a spreading tree canopy. These do best in full sun and tolerate most soils. One of the coolest things about this varietal is that it was cultivated from a tree at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.
4. Magical Globe Birch
The Magical Globe Birch is the dwarf form of Betula Pendula, known as Betula Magical Globe. This attractive tree has a lovely ball-shaped top with a silvery-white trunk. Use them in large containers or plant them as a unique border along a drive or other pathway. These trees maintain their rounded lollipop form with very little pruning and can even be grown in large containers. They like moist, well-drained soil and common type of garden soil. They grow in US zones 3-6.
5. Grayswood Ghost Birch
The Grayswood Ghost Birch tree or Betula utilis var. jacquemontii “Grayswood Ghost” is one of the more beautiful of the birch trees. This lovely specimen features milky-white bark, which is a gorgeous contrast to its deep green leaves. In the fall, the leaves turn to a rich golden cream color before falling off and leaving a stark white skeleton of tree branches against your winter landscape. It loves full sun and medium to wet, well-drained soils. It’s a low maintenance tree that requires very little pruning. It can grow up to about 30 feet in height.
6. Cesky Gold Dwarf Birch Tree
Less of a tree and more of a shrub, the Cesky Gold Dwarf Birch Tree or Cesky Gold® Betula x plettkei ‘Golden Treasure’ is a welcome addition to many gardens. New leaves in the spring bring welcome color to the garden in hues of gold, yellow, and red. As the spring turns to summer, the leaves turn a rich chartreuse green. This shrub works in US zones 2-7 and is equally at home in a container as it is in a border or low hedge. It’s both deer-resistant and pollution-tolerant, so it is a great plant for rural or urban settings. It’s readily available at many garden stores.
7. Little King Birch Tree
The Little King or Betula nigra is a fast-growing tree that forms a multi-stemmed tree with a rounded canopy. One of the most elegant things about this tree is its unique peeling bark. Strings of white peel away to reveal a creamy salmon color. Though it greatly prefers wet soils, it can tolerate drier soils. It does well planted along stream beds and ponds. It’s also a lovely addition to a cottage-type garden. It’s low maintenance and requires very little pruning.
Whether you choose just one variety or all seven of these lovely birches, you can be assured they’ll add elegance and beauty to your garden for every season and are the perfect accent piece when you have limited room for large trees.
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