Plant of the Month December - Betula utilis


Plant of the Month December - Betula utilis

01Dec 2019

This year we're deviating from the cliché of presenting a conifer tree in December. Because a Christmassy atmosphere can be created without a bunch of prickly twigs—with our plant of the month, for example, the Himalayan birch. If the snow doesn't want to come to us (to our headquarters in Havelland), why not just bring a touch of winter forest flavour into the garden?




As its name suggests, the Himalayan Birch is the whitest of all birches. Even at a young age, the bark turns from olive brown to its characteristic, radiant white. As is typical for all birches, the bark rolls off in thin strips. This birch grows as a clear stem or multi-stem up to 15 m high and 7 m wide. As a multi-stem the Betula utilis jacquemontii (also known as 'Doorenbos') has a picturesque funnel shape, as clear stem a rather broad oval crown.





The airy crown of the Himalayan birch, in combination with the pure white bark, gives it a very graceful appearance. Its oval to heart-shaped leaves have serrated margins and are a glossily dark green. The greenish-yellow hanging catkins appear at the same time as the leaves, or sometimes a little earlier. In autumn the leaves exchange their fresh green colour for a bright golden yellow and once again become an absolute eye-catcher.





The snow-white bark of the Himalayan birch in combination with evergreen woody plants is particularly effective. Whether in front of a taxus hedge or together with evergreen shaped shrubs, the white of the bark and the golden yellow autumn colour harmonise wonderfully against a dark green background. The soil quality is of secondary importance. Betula utilis is a very easy-care tree that can stand both slightly alkaline and somewhat acidic conditions. It prefers sunny places and is winter-hardy. If pruning is necessary, then it should only take place in late summer when the birch bleeds less strongly.