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Mountain Gordlinia

x Gordlinia grandiflora

Mountain Gordlinia

x Gordlinia grandiflora

This product is currently out of stock and unavailable.

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How are the heights measured?

All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.

What is a gallon container?

Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.

How does the delivery process work?

All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!

Why are some states excluded from shipping?

The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.

About Me

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The Mountain Gordlinia is a very rare hybrid between two unique trees of the South, one of which – Franklin’s tree – is extinct in the wild. It forms a small pyramidal tree or multi-stem shrub, with large glossy green leaves that are semi-evergreen, with older leaves coloring in the fall. Through the summer it produces 5-inch blooms that are like large white camellias – which this tree is related to. It is ideal for woodland edges and lawn specimens in warmer parts of the country, and a very special collector’s plant of great beauty.

  • Striking semi-evergreen tree with large leaves
  • Big white flowers in summer, like camellias
  • Red and orange fall colors on older leaves
  • Very rare hybrid between two unique species
  • Requires moist, acidic soil

Partial shade, with some morning sun, is best for the Mountain Gordlinia, which grows in moist, rich, acidic soils with good drainage. The pH value of the soil should be below 6.0. Although needing some attention, especially when young, it is easier to grow than either of its parents. It could also be grown for years in a large tub or planter box. It is generally free of pests and less prone to disease than the parents.

Plant Hardiness Zones 7-9
Mature Width 6-15
Mature Height 10-25
Soil Conditions Grows in Acidic Soil
Sunlight Partial Shade
Drought Tolerance Moderate Drought Tolerance
Zones 7-9

If you garden on acid soil, have we got something for you! Having the soil and conditions to succeed with azaleas and rhododendrons opens doors to so many exotic plants, and while camellias are well known, they have some rarer relatives that collectors kill for (well, almost. . .) One exists only in gardens, as it has been extinct in the wild since the early 19th century. This is the Franklin tree, Franklinia alatamaha, which used to grow in just one place on the planet, a spot along the Altamaha River valley in Georgia. It is a graceful pyramidal tree, deciduous, with red fall leaves, and fragrant flowers that are like white camellias. Closely related is the loblolly-bay, Gordonia lasianthus, an evergreen tree that grows in moist acid soils along the Atlantic and Gulf shores of the southeastern states. It is not in any immediate danger in the wild, and it is a beautiful tree that many gardeners love to grow, if they can find it. Now both of these trees are, frankly, tricky, and you need luck and skill to grow them successfully. Much easier, but even rarer, is a unique hybrid plant between these two, called the Mountain Gordlinia. It is more vigorous, it has larger blooms than either parent, and it’s a fantastic small tree if you have the garden environment that it needs. It is attractive at all seasons, either for its evergreen foliage or for the spectacular blossoms. Check the details to see if you can enjoy this amazing plant in your garden.

Growing the Mountain Gordlinia

Size and Appearance

The Mountain Gordlinia is a small, semi-evergreen tree with an attractive pyramidal form and a tendency to develop layered levels of branching. The bark is smooth and dark gray. This tree is quite rapid-growing, reaching about 12 feet tall and 6 feet wide within the first ten years, and mature to about twice those dimensions. It can be grown as a multi-stem tree or large shrub, or trained with a short single trunk. Be sure to allow enough room for it to develop, as a mature specimen is going to be something of great value in any garden. The leaves are large and leathery, between 4 and 8 inches long, smooth, glossy and slender ovals. The edges are attractively wavy, with a hint of serrations along them. In fall older leaves turn shades or reds, oranges and plum-purples, before falling during winter, but most of the leaves remain through the winter months. Flowering takes place from July to September, and the flowers are large, up to 6 inches across, cup-shaped when they first open, and becoming flatter as they mature. They have snow-white petals and a bold, ‘bottle-brush’ yellow center, looking a lot like a white camellia. These showy flowers have a sweet fragrance – something lacking in almost all camellias – which some describe as like honeysuckle and others as orange blossom.

Using the Mountain Gordlinia in Your Garden

This rare tree is perfect to add something very special to an existing woodland garden, or to plant as a lawn specimen in a suitable spot. It could also be grown for years as a container plant.

Hardiness

The Mountain Gordlinia is hardy in zone 7, 8 and 9, growing best in sheltered spots, and thriving in the natural home of its parents, the southeast.

Sun Exposure and Soil Conditions

This tree should be planted in an area of partial shade, or light full shade beneath deciduous trees. A few hours of morning sun is perfect, with shade for the rest of the day. The soil should be acidic, with a pH value of less than 6.0. It should also be rich in organic material, and moist but well-drained. Avoid both dry and boggy areas. This tree is much easier to grow than either parent – Gordonia and Franklinia – but it will need some care, especially when young, including good site preparation. It is not particularly drought resistant.

Maintenance and Pruning

The Mountain Gordlinia is generally free of pests and less prone to disease than its parents, but it can be grazed by deer. It doesn’t really need much attention once you have a suitable spot, besides watering as needed. Some pruning as it develops, to maintain a central trunk if that is your goal, and to remove any over-crowded or crossing branches, is a good idea to have the best mature specimen.

History and Origin of the Mountain Gordlinia

Franklin’s tree, Franklinia alatamaha is a tree in the tea family, and so related to camellias. It was discovered in 1765 by John and William Bartram, botanists from Philadelphia, in an area of 2 or 3 acres along the Altamaha River near Fort Barrington, Georgia, which at that time was a colony of Britain. It’s closest relatives live in China, and these trees were probably very close to extinction when found. The Bartram’s collected seeds, and all the plants that exist today in gardens are descendants of those seeds, since the tree was last seen growing in the wild in 1803. It was named after Benjamin Franklin. Gordonia lasianthus, the loblolly-bay, is much more common in the South, and closely related to Franklin’s tree.

In 2003, Thomas Ranney and P. R. Fantz of the Department of Horticultural Science at North Carolina State University succeeded in crossing these two plants together, creating a rare hybrid between two genera (rather than the more usual hybrids between two species), which is called x Gordlinia grandiflora. Like many hybrid plants it is tougher, more disease resistant, and easier to grow than either of its parents.

Buying the Mountain Gordlinia at the Tree Center

We are thrilled to have sourced this wonderful rare tree, and we know that if you have the right garden you are going to love it so much. Don’t pass up this chance – order now and have something really, really special in your garden – you deserve it.

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Mountain Gordlinia

x Gordlinia grandiflora